We’re shipping Aspen Magazine this week, which means sending it to the printers. When you finalize a magazine, there are a lot of moving parts and exciting moments. And this year, I got to “close” another magazine with my sixth grade mentee as well.
Aspen Middle School has an incredible mentorship program for sixth graders, who choose someone from the community to work with for six months. The students pick a mentor in a vocation they’d like to consider, and my partner, Amelia, walked in last fall with the desire to practice writing.
I’ve seen other people in the community mentor over the years. DJ Naka G taught someone all about the turntables, and Christy Mahon helped her mentee summit a 14er on skis. Last year, our own sixth grader shadowed Mawa in the kitchen, learning everything from food prep to taking restaurant orders. From architects to baristas, this program lets kids learn about the real world in a real way.
It’s such a cool Aspen thing. It’s not only a huge time investment for these kids, but it’s a testament to the community that so many adults eagerly share their knowledge. It’s definitely eye-opening for the students, and I imagine life-changing for some.
Amelia and I worked on putting together a magazine that she eventually named The Sweet Life. The magazine features different sections on food, travel, sports and Aspen. But the common thread throughout was dessert. This kid has a sweet tooth, and we quickly saw that it was a theme that would carry the magazine. She wrote articles about weird food combinations (cookie pizza and ice cream and French fries) and desserts that have terrible names, but are actually delicious (mud pie, fairy bread).
She looked up recipes and food events, and even interviewed a chef. Her travel section’s detailed account of a family trip featured the foods they ate while on vacation. She loves to write about the culinary world, and it was special to see this manifest itself into an entire magazine.
This week, we marched over to Sandy’s Office Supply and bound the 30-page book. Right up until the end, there were stories that fell through, edits to be made and last-minute advertisements to be designed, which closely mimicked what was happening for Aspen Magazine as well.
Our May/June issue of Aspen Magazine is all about food and wine in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s one of my favorites of the year to work on because it’s about, well, food and wine. So as we put both magazines — Aspen Magazine and The Sweet Life — “to bed” as we say, it was a proud moment. Amelia rocked it as an editor and writer this year, and while shipping issues always puts a smile on my face, this time it was Amelia’s magazine that made for the sweetest moment.
Christine Benedetti writes about food here every other week. Mostly the plant kind. She’s editor-in-chief of Aspen magazine, but you can reach her @cabenedetti.