Epic Challenge for Children’s Justice Center
When Vail Resorts approached the local company, Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, about competing in an Epic Ski Challenge, realtor Bridget Osguthorpe says she wasn’t really motivated for the fundraiser.
"We get a lot of things throughout the year and it started out as, ‘oh we’ll put together this challenge’," Osguthorpe said.
But once Sotheby’s chose a charity to compete for, the Summit County Children’s Justice Center, the challenge took on a life of its own. The Justice Center, working under the County Attorney’s Office, provides a safe haven for child abuse victims where they can be interviewed by trained, forensic interviewers.
"As we learned more about the charity, that is honestly when I got really motivated," she said. "We all have gotten so wrapped up into it and now, we are thrilled to bring them a check for $100,000 when we win.
"You come to their center and you know that they need the help and the kids need the help, so we are going to win," she added.
The 2015 Epic Ski Challenge, created by Vail Resorts, is a multi-round, state vs. state and interstate competition that will provide grants to charities in both Utah and Colorado.
Vail Resorts approached businesses in both states to assemble teams, choose a charity, and collectively ski as many Vail Resorts in Colorado, Utah, and California to compete for the $400,000 purse.
"There are so many high-profile charities in town that get a lot of money and so we wanted to pick someone who really needed the money and one where it would stay in the county," said Ruth Drapkin, a Sotheby’s broker and assistant team captain for the challenge.
There are three aspects to the challenge in which teams can score points. Each team’s score will be based on points earned for each mountain skied by its members. There is also a social media and team fundraising component incorporated into the scoring.
Of the $400,000 purse, the winning state will earn $250,000, with $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second, $30,000 for third, and teams that place fourth through tenth will each receive $10,000.
The second-place state will earn $150,000, with $50,000 for first place, $30,000 for second place, $20,000 for third, and teams that place fourth through tenth will each receive $7,000.
The challenge began on Jan. 15 and will end on April 8.
When Melissa McKain, Justice Center director, was notified Sotheby’s had chosen the program, she couldn’t believe it.
"I just remember shaking my head," McKain said. "They are so generous to choose us and they have such a competitive nature to them. But to do it the way they are doing it, with smiles on their faces, we are grateful for anything that comes our way."
Officials with the Justice Center, which operates in the basement of the Sheldon Richins Building in Park City, interview children and teenagers who have been sexually or emotionally abused or endangered.
The Justice Center was initially housed in Wasatch Commons and served both Wasatch and Summit Counties. It opened in Summit County in 2012. Since its inception, it has served approximately 50 children per year. The Justice Center is a non-profit, governmental agency and funding is provided by Park City Municipal Corp, federal grants and private donations.
"This was just supposed to be a temporary space," McKain said. "We’ve been trying to raise money to get out of the basement and get our own facility.
"The model of the Justice Center is that they are all little homes and we need our little home," McKain added.
Christina Sally, an investigator with the Summit County Attorney’s Office, said any funds raised through the competition would greatly benefit the center.
"An expansion would be tremendous," Sally said. "A component of our program is outreach and education. This will give us the opportunity and availability to continue some very successful programs that we’ve started and we can truly expand on that, which is what the county has wanted and the community has asked for.
"You can’t even put a value to how important it is to have these resources available," Sally said. "It is the most generous proposal and drive for our center that we’ve ever had and what makes it such an honor, too, is that they recognize how important this is in our community.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Summit County Children’s Justice Center can mail donations to the Summit County Sheriff’s Department, 6300 Justice Center Road, Park City, 84098, in care of the Summit County Attorney’s Office.
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.