What does a four-year-old from Bailey, Colorado know about planets? Well, if you’re Jessica Boyd, the answer is readily displayed in her original book, Jessica’s Planet. That may have been some years ago, but musing about such considerations never drifted far from her mind.
Last year, when Jessica was a senior in high school, she tackled the subject again, although this time the planet was called Mars. Her investigations conjured up theories regarding man’s dependence on one another and how no one person can truly prosper without a community. In fact, Jessica advocates that we “gave up the right to kill for our own protection.” Her paper “Inhabitation of Mars” clarifies responsibilities naturally imposed on any planet and explores pertinent issues such as profit through recycling.
This undaunted young lady also remembers anticipating college when she was in kindergarten. She says her resilience and independence is a combination of her mother’s strong will and the need to hold her own with two older brothers. Aside from that, she believes her unwavering determination to learn remains her driving force. She made it to State Finals for track and field, speech, drama, science and storytelling all four years of high school.
This past year (2014) the abundance of scholarships she received just about paid for her first year of college. During her first semester she joined the Society of Women Engineers at Colorado State University and was one of two chosen for their National Convention in Los Angeles. Her recent studies have fostered aspirations of just how much her planned electrical engineering degree can impact our world, “particularly when Western Civilization is restricted to advancing only Western ideas.”
But aside from all these endeavors, it’s Jessica’s innovation of Music at Meyers Ranch that has received the most notable accolades. The birth of such a notion originated from a need during her eighth grade. At the time she and her family couldn’t quite afford the cost of cheerleading and Jessica was focused on solving the problem. In rapid response she developed the idea of making her own hula-hoops and selling them at festivals around the mountain area. Hard work was rewarded with continued recognition and by eventually winning the 2012 Evergreen Lake Concert Series poster event. Indeed, she was that year’s poster child and recipient of a free booth for selling her hoops. In addition, Jessica earned the respect of the concert series originator, Dale Gibbons, who was also instrumental in the eventual inauguration of Music at Meyers Ranch.
Two years after her hula-hoop debut, and with Dale’s practical guidance, this sixteen-year-old ball of energy had her sights locked onto bigger things. With little to go on, Jessica ended up knocking on the door of property owner Norm Myers, Jr. Her intention was to create an outdoor musical event in his pasture that could positively impact the entire 285 corridor, from Morrison to Bailey. The gathering would be billed Music at Meyers Ranch. Eventually Norm bought into the idea and spent hours upon hours convincing neighbors of its probable success. He stopped growing hay on that particular space of land and pretty much granted all of Jessica’s requests. In due course, Norm donated his land to the cause and considers his gesture a way to give back to locals, friends and neighbors. These preliminary events took place two years ago and today her production is swiftly maturing with communities benefitting as foreseen.
Billed as a family affair, Music at Meyers grew from an uphill first year that required out-of-pocket money from Jessica and her family. The first bands worked for free. Fortunately, the rich attraction of an outdoor affair was a drawing point and the musicians found it pleasing to donate their time and talents. Vendor booths are a fundamental asset and nonprofit organizations continue to occupy free space while promoting their cause. This is Jessica’s way of insuring that the community knows what’s available. And as always, Jessica’s passion for community and personal mantra drive her onward: “I give a lot; not because I have a lot to give, but because I know what it’s like to have nothing.”
This past year Jessica’s triumphs proliferated and attendance at each event numbered between 2,000 and 2,500 participants. She admits that it’s the smiles that keep her going and that the financial reward is little, especially when measured against the amount of effort each performance demands. Although the lumber to erect the stage and booths has often been donated, sound equipment powered by electricity remains a concern. In 2015 bands will be paid the going rate and the growing venue will accommodate more vendors than ever. To offset cost, Jessica plans to incorporate recently learned skills and influence the flow of money and resources. While doing so, she hopes to make a difference by accessing renewable energy and somehow freeing up more currency in general.
Both Jessica and her mom are currently addressing the 2015 agenda. While Jessica is away at school, her mother has taken on the duty of scouting out prospective bands. However, her mom Jeanne hasn’t had to look so hard recently, for Colorado-based bands are inquiring about the gig and lining up to perform. Accessing genres such as reggae, jazz, bluegrass, country, rock and more will most likely suit just about everyone at one time or another. Their biggest sponsor, the Honey Smoked Fish Company, has committed once again to build the stage and brand new picnic tables have been added as well.
Jessica has big plans for this year’s agenda on the ranch. There will be a total of seven shows; each one designed to benefit the community in a creative way. As an example: musical instruments will be collected for the needy, there will be a Christmas in July, and August will bring a drive for school supplies. All shows offer free admission and the entire schedule for drives, bands and otherwise can be found at musicatmeyersranch.com. Meanwhile, Jessica embraces the idea that in life one arm should be outstretched up to receive a helping hand, with the other arm reaching down to give a helping hand to others.