Education is a gift we give to the young no one can take away. It builds confidence and opens the endless vistas of the future. Without education, a star is just a bright spot in the sky. With it, those stars explain the universe.

Park City is filled with highly accomplished adults, so many of our young people have more opportunities than most to achieve their dreams. Fortunately, our education leaders are ready to challenge and motivate our high schoolers.

At the Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies (PCCAPS), students fast forward into their future, immersing themselves in a professional culture and solving real-world problems, mentored by local employers. Best of all, they bring new perspectives and fresh ideas, sometimes surprising the supervising adults.

For example, as Summit County develops the first-ever Rail Trail Master Plan, PCCAPS students are perfecting their idea for a Rail Trail sensory garden, a first for a Summit County public place. Sensory gardens are carefully designed to stimulate the five senses, heightening awareness of our connection to the natural world. Paths, walls, seating, and signage are inclusive and interactive while acknowledging lesser-recognized senses that may compensate for medical or physical conditions. It is a brilliant idea – perfectly matched to the Trail's outdoor setting and history.

Students are also coming up with a hypothetical community center. They have already completed a Rail Trail Corridor logo, which Summit County Planner Madlyn McDonough says could show up in marketing materials this month.

For McDonough, the PCCAPS experience has been eye-opening. "I love working with the PCCAPS students," she says. "I am impressed with their thoughtfulness and ingenuity. It has been fascinating!"

Excited by their task, she says students want to know more about time management, how projects go from concept to completion, and how social media marketing works. Are you sensing future management material?

Throughout the County and into Salt Lake, PCCAPS projects have benefitted Intermountain Park City Hospital, Nordic Center, Method Studio Architects, Kutcher Clinic for Sports Neurology, Ballet West Academy, and the University of Utah Health, to name a few. Others include Progressive Leasing and Recycle Park City.

"Businesses get talented students to take over to-do list projects at no cost," said PCCAPS Director Adrienne Woolley. "They give back through mentoring."

PCCAPS is for 11th & 12th graders interested in engineering/architecture, technology, business, health sciences, digital design, and elementary education. A teacher oversees each project, their mission to save employers time and money "while giving our students real-world experience." Wooley says. The program is nationally recognized, operating in 16 states and 112 school districts. More than 19,000 students have completed CAPS; The Park City School District is one of 6 Utah districts offering it.

PCCAPS is now prepping projects for the fall semester, so here is your chance to get eager, motivated young people working on your project. Go to and fill out a request form. During your semester-long involvement, you'll offer coaching and project guidance and may do some guest speaking and project judging. There is no cost to participate – but the reward for providing a hand up to motivated young Parkites is priceless.

I can't recommend PCCAPS highly enough - so don't miss out! Visit today.