Getting Back to the Important Places

Recently, I watched a short documentary about Important Places. It starts, “may you always remember the path that leads back, back to the Important Places.” For Colorado Young Leaders, that Important Place starts at the Kite Lake Trailhead, in the shadow of four Colorado 14ers; the Decalibron Loop. 

One step at a time, one summit at a time. This was the group motto while hiking the 6th Annual CYL Decalibron Loop Hike in mid-September. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of hazy smoke-filled skies, and fresh snow on the ground, the CYL Team was grateful to be able to continue the yearly tradition, even if it looked different than years past. With a smaller group, we got to know each other better and reflected on seeing the mountains from a different perspective. It was a reminder to get back to the Important Places. 

During the busyness of the beginning of a new school year, the Decalibron Loop is a place to reset and remember what matters. For CYL Founder Nicole Mahobian, It’s a place that sparked the vision for creating an organization that allows teens to pursue their passions while exploring a new way to lead. For Young Leaders, it’s a place that represents a metaphor for the leadership and service journey they experience during their four years of high school; each summit representing a milestone helping teens find purpose and direction on the path to creating positive change. As an annual hike, it’s a place where we let go of control and let the mountains guide us. It’s a place where we set goals, commit to one another, and push ourselves out of our comfort zones, a place where when a supportive group surrounds us, we can accomplish more than we ever dreamed we could. 

The Decalibron Loop was a reminder that we’re going to be okay in a world that feels so heavy, and that out of the confusion and fear of 2020, we will find purpose. So tell us, where is your Important Place? Share with us at #CYLDecalibron20, watch the 10-minute Important Places documentary, and read reflections from the summit. 


Student Reflections 

The Decalibron proved to me that I can do things that are difficult for me, and made such good friends along the way. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without having a group to support me along the way. – Sasha, CYL ‘21

As I hiked up Mt. Bross, the valley at the base of the mountain once seemed huge, now grew smaller and smaller. My heart raced faster than it ever had before, and once we made it to the top, I could see miles and miles of snow-covered mountains. [The last fourteener of the day] was the one I really had to push myself on. I knew that if I gave up now, I would later regret it, so I kept pushing my limits until I finally made it to the top. At the top, the view took my breath away. Mt. Democrat was by far the best view and was perfect for the last fourteener. This experience not only showed me the benefits of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone but also how important it is to have someone you can count on to motivate and push you. It also showed me a new love for hiking and especially hiking fourteeners. This was an experience that I will never forget and one that I will look forward to next year! – Ashley, CYL ’23

On this hike, I really got to push myself and do something I did not think I could do. There were times I doubted that I would make it to the end. The amazing group of people I hiked with really helped me accomplish my goals and helped me make it to the top of every mountain. At the end of the day, I didn’t just leave with the accomplishment of hiking four Colorado 14ers, but with the thought that if I really push myself and challenge myself, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to with the help of supportive, kind people all encouraging each other! – Olivia, CYL ‘22

September 23, 2020