Carl Colonius '87
He’s a ski instructor, swift water rescuer, ropes course trainer, and landscape designer, but above all, Carl Colonius is a trailblazer best known for his work with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) of Taos, New Mexico.
Colonius co-founded the RMYC after stints as an English teacher and mountain guide abroad (1987–1988), a builder (a partner in Pinnacle Construction, Boston, from 1988–1990), and a youth corps apprentice (at East Bay Conservation Corps in Oakland, California, from 1991–1995).
In 1995 Colonius synergized his diverse talents and skills when he was awarded a Social Entrepreneurship Fund fellowship from Youth Service America and the Kellogg Foundation to start the RMYC, the first year-round youth conservation corps in New Mexico.
First as RMYC’s Director of Programs (1995–2000) and then as its executive director since 2000, Colonius has led the nonprofit in providing holistic youth development through the completion of community and conservation service projects while building new skills and a sense of community among its participants. The RMYC has worked with more than 1,900 youths (providing job training, personal development, and college preparation) and has offered over 200,000 hours of meaningful community service in the under-resourced region of rural northern New Mexico.
Colonius was recognized in September 2011 with a Champion of Change award from the White House. The RMYC received the Excellence in Corps Operations (ECO) award for its commitment to high-quality standards and continuous improvement, and earlier in 2011 RMYC earned a three-year, $988,409 grant from the Kellogg Foundation.
A Carleton English major who spent his junior year in Europe studying Italian culture and art history, Colonius was an active intramural Rotblatt player and co-captained the Carleton swim team as a senior. Colonius exhibited an early interest in youth development during his college years as a volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Northfield.
Colonius chaired The Corps Network in 2004–05 and initially joined its board in 1998. Since 2001 he has been an ex-officio director of the Taos Mountain Film Festival board, and has served on the Taos County Juvenile Justice Reform Board since 2004, among other community involvement.
Colonius lives with his wife, Rosamond, and their three children in Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico. His siblings are Matthew Colonius ’85 and Gretchen Colonius ’86.