Have you ever dreamt about embarking on a journey to the outdoors, but quickly discarded the idea due to monetary constraints? Luckily for Colorado College students, this never has to be an issue again thanks to the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund.
The Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund was started in memory of Ritt Kellogg, a CC alum who died in a climbing accident in Alaska in 1992. The fund was established the very next winter and is currently in its 21st year.
This past week, the RKMF Program Coordinator Chris Dickson hosted two events in order to promote this amazing resource that is readily available to all students. Wednesday’s event consisted of an explanation and clarification about the fund and all of its components.
The RKMF provides four main resources to CC students: Expedition Grants, Education Grants, a library book collection (including numerous climbing guides, old maps, etc.), and the brand-new climbing gym in the fitness center.
The Expedition Grants are the most well known and highly sought after components of the fund. These types of grants essentially provide a group of students all the funding they require to travel anywhere in North America to experience the outdoors and include anything from climbing trips to backpacking trips.
The criteria to receive a grant include a detailed and thorough trip proposal focusing on skill acquisition, risk management, and evacuation plans. Other criteria involve all participants obtaining their Wilderness First Responder certification and purchasing a First Aid Kit. These can be further explained on the RKMF webpage, and applications can be found on SUMMIT. Typically, between six and eight Expedition Grants are approved and funded each year.
Education Grants are another component of the overall fund. These provide courses at low cost to students who are preparing for their expeditions. Courses include rock rescue, avalanche education, bear safety, Leave No Trace, snow school, glacier travel, crevasse rescue, and more. Applications for the education grants can also be found on SUMMIT and are assessed on whether the course is appropriate for the trip, among other things. About 25 Education Grants are given out each year.
“Education Grants are vitally important to the preparation of an expedition,” said Dickson. “However, they are also intended to help CC students develop their technical skills in an effort to become more proficient backcountry travelers.”
On Thursday evening, each group of students who recently returned from their expeditions presented stories and slideshows about their experiences. From Washington to Utah and Northern Alaska to Wyoming, it was evident that the groups had had life-changing experiences all over the country and were eternally grateful to the RKMF for providing these incredible opportunities.
“Nowhere else in the country are individuals of college age receiving funding to do the things that CC students do on Ritt Expeditions,” said Dickson, who was funded to go on his own expedition during his years as a student. “Ritt-funded experiences can be truly transformative.”
Dickson’s advice to those seeking a grant? “Be creative, go somewhere new, and challenge yourself! However, you should explicitly show that you have the necessary experience to back it up. Don’t try to put up first ascents/descents.”