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RANGELY I Last month kicked off Governor John Hickenlooper’s commission to engage Coloradans in a statewide branding effort that aims to “capture the spirit and energy that exists in Colorado today,” according to the Making Colorado Tumblr page.
And with the help of Rio Blanco County participants, Rangely’s Tessa Slagle will be in the midst of it all.
Slagle, 17, an incoming senior, is one of 64 youth ambassadors representing her county during the eight-week Making Colorado internship and marketing program. Students create written and visual content each week that they then share with followers on various social media outlets, including Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
Participants design content to explain each county’s individual “vibe” and how it contributes to a larger vision of Colorado’s identity as a state. The information will then help create a Colorado brand intended to promote economic development in the state.
“It’s been kind of hard because I don’t have a lot of time,” said Slagle, who is active in 4-H and has a full-time summer job with Dinosaur National Monument. “Learning it all was kind of a challenge, but after the first week, you figured it out.”
Slagle spends at least five hours each week gathering photos and information about the county, then weaves it together to fit a weekly theme like community kinship or diversity and opportunity.
She’s not interested in going it completely alone, however. She hopes that Rio Blanco County residents from both ends of the county will join Tumblr, the blog site that contains most of her content, and search “Rio Blanco County” to offer ideas and input.
Slagle’s mom, Carla, believes that while the youth ambassador opportunity has taught her daughter concepts of brand creation, marketing and media skills via regular “webinars,” it’s been a challenge to work with social media that some students, let alone many people in their counties, have never used.
“It can be hard to get the word out about what Tessa’s doing when a lot of people don’t even know what Tumblr is,” Carla Slagle said. “If we can encourage people to join and share their thoughts about what makes Rio Blanco County special, that’s a step in the right direction.”
Being involved in 4-H, multiple sports and extracurricular clubs, along with completing more than 230 hours of community service in the last year have helped Slagle understand what makes Rio Blanco County special.
But to get information out to the communities and diversify the content, she needs followers to contribute their own ideas about where they live.
“I feel connected to Meeker, especially through 4-H and sports,” Slagle said. “I want to get across that in small towns, it might not seem like there’s a lot to do. But if you go out and look, there’s really a ton to do—even if you have to go far to find it.”
So far, Slagle has highlighted various county features, from the Range Call celebration and rock crawlers to Colorado Northwestern Community College and the Flattops Wilderness Area. Personal touches on the Tumblr page include old family photos (for the demographics theme) and an interview with longtime Rangely resident Peggy Rector.
Perks of the program include Gov. Hickenlooper committing to visit each ambassador in his or her county and, recently, Slagle and other youth ambassadors being interviewed by 9News’ Amelia Earhart about the Making Colorado program.
“It was a little scary,” Slagle said, laughing. “Some of the questions you really had to think about. They weren’t just about yourself. You really had to know about the program.”
Joining social media sites like Tumblr, Pinterest or Twitter is easy to do. To follow Tessa on Tumblr, create an account and search “Rio Blanco County.”