Tinsley Wilkinson was born and raised in Steamboat and is appreciative of the special community that surrounds her, as well as the education she received at the Emerald School and Steamboat Mountain School (SMS). ‘Connection’ is the word she uses to define community – close bonds with her family in town, connection to the broader, supportive ski community, the comforting feeling of recognizing people in the grocery store, and knowing that whenever you need help, there’s someone in the community to ask. Her appreciation of the Steamboat community is what motivates her volunteerism. “I try to give back to the community at least a small part of what I’ve been fortunate to have had growing up here,” she says.
While Tinsley’s first brush with community service was through 4-H, she became even more inspired to volunteer her time when watching her mom participate in Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs and chair the LobsterFest fundraiser. When a school schedule conflict prevented her from joining the Interact Club (Rotary’s service club for teens) at Steamboat Springs High School during her freshman year, she decided to create the club at SMS. The club’s projects over the last three years have included COVID mask-making, a holiday gift and food drive for LiftUp of Routt County, Study Friends tutoring for Integrated Community, and creating and planting peace poles during SMS’s travel semester to spread a message of unity and hope. In her nomination of Tinsley for this award, Hazel Hoff said “Tinsley is a selfless creator. She makes things happen and works hard to be successful in them.”
Tinsley, the recipient of a prestigious Boettcher Scholarship, will be attending the University of Denver to study science or pre-health. She plans to participate in club Nordic skiing and either Rotaract (the young adult version of Rotary) or other school community service clubs. She looks forward to living in Denver, where she can learn about community needs and volunteer opportunities in a big city. She is particularly passionate about traveling, skiing, and volunteering to help youth and education. Lori Livingston, YCVF Board Member and family friend says, “It’s not what Tinsley has done in her 18 years of life, but what she will do with the rest of her life.” Wherever she goes, this motivated young lady is certain to continue giving back and inspiring others to as well.