When Betsy Hays and husband John married in 1994, they made a conscious decision to raise their children in Colorado. Both were working for AT&T in New Jersey, and it took them six months to get transfers.
Their experience growing up and attending college on the East Coast convinced them it was where people lived to work, and they knew they wanted to raise children in an environment where people worked to live.
Prior visits to Colorado and a love of the outdoors made Colorado a natural choice, and she’s worked ever since to set a good example for others who call Evergreen “home.”
The environment has always played a role in her assessment of life and how she goes about living it. She’s an environmentalist of a different sort.
She loves hiking, camping, mountain biking, and skiing. “I love the environment, but it’s the people,” she says with her characteristic broad smile that has made her an out-front ambassador for the community in one capacity or another since moving here 17 years ago.
“I’ve met so many people from all over the country – most [Evergreen residents] are from other places.,” she said. The common denominator has been their friendliness.
While raising three children over the past 14 years, she’s always been part of the kids’ sports and activities, whether it’s by running the swim meets for kids at Hiwan Golf Club or cheering on the Evergreen Hurricanes (swim team), Stingers Soccer, or volleyball teams at the Rec Center.
As adults, she and her husband have both been involved with scouting, even though she herself was never involved with Girl Scouts growing up. When her husband, a former Eagle Scout, shared his opinions about the life benefits of scouting, she was convinced it was important enough to encourage her children to be scouts – and she has been a Girl Scout leader for the past eight years.
Being involved with the kids’ activities enables her to know who their friends are and provides her with a natural introduction to other adults with shared interests in the community.
As a volunteer, she worked with the Jeffco School District’s Strategic Planning and Calendar committees.
She’s on the booster board for the marching band at the high school and is a former president of the PTA at the Bergens where she’s run the Science Fair and done fundraising. She started the Fall Carnival at the Bergens and ran it for 5 years.
“I like to be busy, and I like to be in charge of big things,” explains the Wellesley grad with a natural inclination to be cheerful, efficient, and effective as well as busy.
Betsy was a member of the 2009 graduating class of Leadership Evergreen and later served on the board. She worked for the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce – where she met a different set of people altogether – selling memberships for 3 ½ years.
Now, as development director for the Mountain Area Land Trust, she’s meeting yet another group of people associated with nonprofit organizations and those interested in preserving the environment. “It’s a good fit,” she explains. “I moved here because of the way this community looks, and now I’m raising money to continue to protect the views from when I moved here.”
This year MALT will celebrate its 20th anniversary, having saved 20,000 acres thus far. Its goal is to raise $20,000 toward saving another 20,000 acres. Betsy feels good about working at a job that benefits the life of every person in the community – residents, and visitors alike.
This year she’s volunteering as the stage manager with the Big Chili Cookoff, which started 11 years ago to thank the firefighters throughout our mountain area. She realizes the power of a thank-you. The outpouring of support demonstrated during the Lower North Fork fire recently showed not only how much our firefighters do but also how grateful our residents are for their commitment to keeping us safe.
It is the friendly, caring environment of Evergreen that Betsy values most. She wants her children to be brought up in that environment, encouraging them to recognize a responsibility to help others and developing in them a sense of knowing it’s the right thing to do.