Thanks to the 7th Annual Tin Cup Challenge, we were able to purchase 50 tons of hay, 52 bags of supplemental feeds and provide farrier and veterinarian care to all our horses throughout the year! We were also able to foster 6 additional horses and send one horse to a professional trainer to advance its adoption potential, with enough left to secure a portable shelter and round pen for on-property training. As a 100% volunteer-driven organization, the Tin Cup Challenge accounted for approximately 60% of our operating budget in 2014 and provided us with the funding needed to continue our mission to provide a happy, healthy and nurturing environment for unwanted, abused, abandoned, retired and neglected horses.
Thanks to the Community Foundation of Teton Valley Grants Program, we were able to provide 45 paid camp days, divided between 7 participants. These need-based scholarships allowed the children of local families to participate in quality summer programming that otherwise would not have been available to them due to financial constraints. The Teton Valley Community School summer program helps students become better citizens, community members, students and friends with a large emphasis on education and community service. Last year, as part of our summer programming, participants gave back to the community by helping to paint the recycling bins at the Teton Valley Community Recycling Center and also assisted in beautifying the bike path.
Thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, VARD successfully held a Teton Valley Farm and Ranch tour in 2014. With more than 25 participants, the tour highlighted three diverse and innovative local farms, helping to increase the attention to and support of our local agricultural producers while highlighting an important economic activity with deep roots in our valley. Farms visited on the tour included, Snowdrift Farm in Victor, H.D. Dunn and Son Angus Ranch in Tetonia and Arnold Farms in Felt. Following the tour, one attendee wrote, "We really enjoyed the farm tour yesterday and learned a lot about what is going on in the valley. You really put a lot of work into this day, and I wanted you to know how much your efforts are appreciated."
Thanks to the funding provided by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley's Youth Philanthropy Program, we were able to expand the Tetonia Elementary outdoor classroom. This program, in collaboration with Full Circle Education, successfully provides a hands-on learning experience for elementary students; establishing a relationship with food by means of planting, tending, and harvesting a garden. In 2014, the project greatly enhanced both the student's learning experience and the staff's teaching experience with 6 lesson days provided by Full Circle Education. In the summer, students, parents, siblings, and community members enjoy weekly garden club programs where participants often return home with food for their families and/or a take-home growing project.
The Tin Cup Challenge has allowed us to take major steps towards improving and expanding mountain biking opportunities including, the funding for our first Executive Director, a significant trail reroute project in the Mail Cabin area, a leadership role in the Global Fat Bike Summit, and organizing local high school mountain bike teams. We are also completing trail signing and maintenance projects and holding a free trail building school with the International Mountain Biking Association's Trail Care Crew. With plans to improve the Victor Bike Park and expand our Trail Ambassador program, we are committed to building a vibrant, healthy community through the development of mountain biking resources that will enhance recreational and economic opportunities in the Teton Region.