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College outreach programs growing through recreation
Central Wyoming College's commiunity garden has been a successful part of CWC's outreach effort. It has grown to 90 plots and a has 40-person waiting list. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

College outreach programs growing through recreation, job training and the arts

Mar 31, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Riverton's R Recreation program has continued to grow each year through the city's partnership with Central Wyoming College, achieving a new record in 2011-12 by serving about 5,500 participants.

"Those numbers keep going up almost exponentially," workforce and community education dean Lynne McAuliffe said during her report to the CWC Board of Trustees. "There are really significant increases almost every year."

The most popular activity is the Summer Academy, which attracted 1,165 students in grades two through eight last year for recreational and educational programs.

More than 600 families went to summer movie matinees through R Recreation last year, and 995 people came to see the Harlem Ambassadors benefit hoops game in March 2012 at Riverton High School.

"This (started) as kind of a little trial thing, and it's just been very successful," McAuliffe said of R Recreation.

"I think the citizens of Riverton as well as the city have been very happy with the results."

She added that the college accepts enrollments on campus for other community organizations like Little League and Amateur Athletic Union Volleyball.

Outreach

CWC's own outreach through its Riverton office also has expanded, McAuliffe said, reporting an "astounding" 2,068 enrollments in community education courses in 2012, up from 1,997 the previous year.

McAuliffe specifically pointed to the college's community garden, which now includes 90 plots and a 40-person waiting list.

On the other side of the county, McAuliffe said community participation has gone down.

"Lander has been kind of interesting," McAuliffe said. "We had a pretty significant decline in non-credit enrollments last year, and it continued to be flat this year."

In 2011-12, CWC accepted 403 non-credit outreach enrollments, down from the peak of 735 in 2009-10. McAuliffe guessed that people in Lander are benefitting from their city's own offerings.

"The gap has been filled by many Lander arts projects and interests in the Lander community as well as a very robust recreation program," McAuliffe said, pointing specifically to the Lander Art Center and the Lander Children's Museum.

"I think some programming has been picked up by those efforts."

CWC's Sinks Canyon Center has become more popular in recent years, however, with local K-12 classes in particular taking more trips to the property on a regular basis. McAuliffe said the center hosted more than 4,350 visitors in 2011-12, an increase of 28 percent over the past year.

"(We're) growing programs in outdoor leadership, facilities management, construction technology, workforce development, electrical apprenticeships and growing partnerships in K-12," McAuliffe said in her report. "The center also continues to host numerous weddings from March through September (as well as) leadership and other retreats."

In workforce development, she said CWC hosted 1,907 non-credit individuals during 2011-12, up from 1,814 in 2009-10.

"The (workforce development) department has now trained employees from over 309 companies in the service area and placed students in employment at over 174 companies," McAuliffe said.

Grants

McAuliffe announced that her department was awarded $5.4 million in grants last year, drawing applause from the CWC board and President Jo Anne McFarland.

"(It was) just an absolutely phenomenal year for us," McAuliffe said, adding, "It's not as much about the number, but the opportunity to provide very diverse programs."

She plans to launch an entrepreneurship program and innovation institute for students and existing businesses, for example, and another grant focuses on the energy sector.

"It's just a wonderful opportunity to have those resources for curriculum development," McAuliffe sad. "(We're) really dipping our toe in the water with some exciting, innovative programs."

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Central Wyoming College