March 15, 2024

Wolcott, CO – On Tuesday, March 12th, Mountain Recreation hosted its third-annual Appreciation Dinner, where the spotlight shined on the backbone of the District’s youth sports leagues, rock climbing, Edwards Outdoor Ice Rink, and the Mountain Women’s Hockey League – volunteers.

“Every year our community continues to grow, and so does the demand for sports,” shares Anna Englehart, Superintendent of Recreation Programs at Mountain Recreation. “All our volunteers are important; without them we wouldn’t be able to serve our community to the level that we do today. Every volunteer makes a difference, and we are happy to take a moment to recognize their efforts and dedication to making our community better than yesterday,” continued Englehart.

Hosted at 4-Eagle Ranch, and sponsored by ANB Bank, the night kicked off with Mountain Rec Board member, Tom Edwards addressing the volunteers and sharing the impact they had on the community before announcing the finalists of this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

Thanks to volunteers, throughout 2023 the District had the support of over 250 coaches across five sessions of youth sports leagues, including soccer, basketball, baseball, and more – delivering more than 4,500 volunteer hours across Gypsum, Eagle, and Edwards. Additionally, thanks to a volunteer-led effort in 2023, the community saw increased access to two sheets of ice at the Edwards Outdoor Rink allowing families to enjoy more ice time for drop-in skating and hockey for all ages and abilities. Not to mention that thanks to coaches for the District’s Mountain Women’s Hockey League (MWHL), the league was able to enter and celebrate its 20th year anniversary. To date the MWHL has stood as a beacon of inclusive recreational hockey within Eagle County, flourishing into a tight-knit and supportive community.


2023 Volunteer of the Year:
Sean LaFaver – Edwards, CO | Hometown: Lawrence, KS

Congratulations to Sean Lafaver, or “Flav,” an Edwards local since 2004 and a dedicated father of three. His coaching journey with Mountain Rec started in 2019, beginning with soccer and expanding to seven seasons in baseball, lacrosse, and flag football. Sean, a Business Development Manager at BluSky Restoration, prioritizes coaching, fostering a community bond among kids and families. As a coach, he celebrates each child’s progress, finding reward in those “aha” moments. He emphasizes core values of fun, family, teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship. Sean crafts dynamic practices, focusing on engagement and individual learning processes. His coaching philosophy centers on creating an infectious sense of fun, resonating joyfully with kids, parents, and the community. In the world of Flav’s coaching, joy is the common language that connects “Jelly Beans,” “Purple Dragons,” and “Chicken Nuggets” on the field.


2023 Finalist:
Rigo Chavez – Edwards, CO | Hometown: Losa Angeles, CA
Meet Rigo Chavez, an Edwards resident originally from LA, who has passionately dedicated seven seasons to coaching basketball and soccer with Mountain Recreation. Motivated by his children, Rigo’s coaching journey has transformed, instilling patience and refined communication skills, both on and off the field. Rigo, an Eagle River Water & Sanitation team member, inspires young athletes by building fundamental skills, laying the groundwork for their confidence and success. The most fulfilling aspect for Rigo lies in the profound relationships nurtured with the kids and witnessing their inspiring progress. By ensuring equality, celebrating individual achievements, and fostering a supportive environment, Rigo champions each child to feel valued and integral to the team. Treating each child equally and celebrating individual successes, he ensures a supportive environment where every child feels valued and part of the team.


2023 Finalist:
Elizabeth Latenser – Eagle, CO | Hometown: Kansas City, KS
Meet Elizabeth Latenser, affectionately known as Lizzy, a mother of two and the Executive Director of Access Unbound. Since her arrival in Eagle in 2021, Lizzy has been a dedicated coach with Mountain Rec, initiating her journey by cheering on her son’s T-Ball team the day after moving. Over the past three years, her coaching philosophy, focusing on teamwork, fun, and building confidence, has enriched teams in soccer, basketball, flag football, and hockey. She enjoys coaching alongside her husband Tim and together they prioritize continuous learning and ensure practices are both enjoyable and positively reinforcing, channeling each child’s energy into the sport. Her approach centers on understanding individual motivations, bringing out the best in every player. Beyond the field, Lizzy measures success through strong team bonds, fulfilling relationships with her kids, and integration into the vibrant Eagle community. In her coaching role, Lizzy exemplifies a community builder, mentor, and advocate for the transformative influence of youth sports. She also enjoys finding community on the ice on Sunday evenings in the Mountain Women’s Hockey League in Eagle.

2023 Nominees
Monica Hedrick, Sam and Tanisha Bartlett, Greg Barth, Jeff Schlicting, All Eagle Mini Mite Hockey Coaches.


Mountain Rec cannot thank our volunteers enough, for being generous with your time and energy to coach, belay, and bring amazing opportunities to our community. Thank you for teaching kids how to throw, kick, catch, shoot, skate, block, run, bump-set-spike, dribble, bat, win (and lose) with grace. Thank you for making a team out of a group of kids and thank you for giving them a role model to look up to. Thank you for teaching kids what it means to be on a team, and for giving them priceless childhood memories. Thank you for all you do for Mountain Rec.

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