People of FoCo
People of FoCo is a Hive Theory project that works to showcase different members of the Fort Collins community. We want to show all of the incredible people we have making up our hive, and talk about the things that really matter.
If you or someone you know would like to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your information.
“I love everything about Fort Collins. I love the community here, and the way people understand what it means to be part of something bigger. It shows in their attitudes and how we interact with one another. Everything goes back to community. The best way to get to know people and make connections is by going to a local place often, and building relationships. Hanging out at a coffee shop is a perfect example. You can get to know so many locals by having a cup of coffee.”
"I love the versatility of Fort Collins. I feel that the basis of it's appeal is that it is so close to the foothills, its big enough to have something to do but small enough to have a sense of community. I recently did away with all of my digital media as a kind of break and as a kind of experiment. I'm finding that it is really nice because Fort Collins has such a social atmosphere that allows for making connections very organically, you don't need digital media to find kindred spirits."
"I came here from a little town north of Pittsburgh. I came here because of a woman, we got married 18 years ago. I like the climate, I like the availability of recreational things, I fly fish all the time in the Poudre. Fort Collins is getting a little too big for me, it's getting harder and harder to get around. I guess that is symbolic of a healthy economy, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I can see that it is becoming increasingly difficult in our society in general to make social connections on their own merit, and I think that has everything to do with digital media. I'm a bit of a curmudgeon about it, I don't have a smart phone I have a flip phone. I would not want to be the mother or father of a teenager right now, because I know they fight this battle every day. Kids used to play outside in nature everyday, and now they are sucked into their screens. I think it's inevitable that we will see a connection with screen time and mental health."
"For fun I longboard around town, I also love to spray paint on canvas. I moved here about 3 months ago from a small town in Maine. Like 87 people small. I loved moving to a city with more stuff to do. But it's not too big either. Since I'm a graffiti artist, I love all of the murals around town. Generally I use social media to maintain friendships I already have, but I'll use Instagram to connect with new people that I've met. I think trying to talk about how social media has influenced metal health is such a hard question. Because in some cases it's been an outlet for people with social anxiety and depression, but you also wouldn't talk to someone in person the way you do on social media. Like you wouldn't just say I'm so depressed I wanna die to some random person, but people post that on Facebook all the time."
"I've lived here for about 3 years. I moved from Gunnison to Denver to here. The town is a little young for me, it's a college town you know. And while I'm not old, I'm still older than these kids. But I love how outgoing this town is. It's extremely easy to make connections no matter what you're doing. I boat on Horsetooth, fish at the Poudre, see shows at The Mish and I always meet someone new doing the same thing I am. We can bond over that and I think that's pretty cool."
"My favorite thing about Fort Collins is probably the culture of people. Everyone wants to be healthy and have a healthy lifestyle. Even though Fort Collins has gotten really big, I feel like the downtown community is still super strong. I hate that the generation below ours has grown up with smart phones. I know that I'm on social media a lot, but I know how to live with out it. But I love Instagram because it's a photo album of your life. You can look back and see all the cool things you've done and the people you've met. I've recently started following a lot of plus size models and body positivity accounts, and I love it! It cuts down on all the negativity and comparison that can come from social media."
"I work at the Fort Collins Rescue Mission. I started volunteering here because my friend was the assistant director and that led to a full-time position. I love that I get to help the part of the community that truly needs help. You don't think of homelessness when you think of Fort Collins, necessarily, but there is quite a large population here and it's growing because our city is growing. I really like that I get to engage with these people, and working here it gives me perspective. I have a lot of appreciation for our EMTs, local law enforcement, and local nonprofit organizations that help out. I like doing something that really matters. I went to school to be an artist and I am also in a local band. I refer to Fort Collins as a 'small town city.' If you spend enough time here, you will get to know the faces, and most everyone is friendly."
"One of the things that I love about Fort Collins is that it's definitely always pushing towards being more diverse. Especially as a hair stylist, I get to see a mix of people in my chair. We have business people, we have artsy folks, we have outdoorsy types. I think it's a really nice blend. One of the things I have a love/hate relationship with about being a hair stylist is that I deal with a lot of "hairapy" but it's also kind of cool because it's a close-knit relationship and you get to know people a lot faster and more intimately. I think mental health is definitely more of a discussion with less of a stigma these days. It seems to be more at the forefront of people's thoughts, especially with the recent celebrity battles. In regards to mental health, I'm still working on that and don't have a perfect answer. If you do, I'd love to hear it. I think doing the things that you love and trying to take time to be in the moment is the majority of staying happy and healthy."
“Have you ever heard of the concrete family? We’re a bunch of homeless people that look out for each other and make sure everyone has food in their stomach, somewhere to sleep, warm clothes, always has water, and is healthy. It’s called the concrete family. I really love that part of our town. The police in Fort Collins are really nice, but really strict. If you’re in a tight spot, it can be hard. At least it’s way different than downtown Denver. You don’t have to be as scared out here. It’s really sad we just found my friend a few days ago. Search and rescue found him floating in the river. But you know what--everyone was concerned and trying to help. The people on the streets all care about each other here. It’s safe. You don’t have to worry about getting jumped or stabbed. We are a family. I think the best way to help is to give us a place to sleep at night. I got a ticket for charging my phone at a church the other day. There’s nowhere to charge my phone or sleep. If you sleep outside you get a ticket, if you sleep under a bridge, you get a ticket. It’s $150 and we can’t pay that. It’s not plausible. If you can’t pay, you get a warrant, and that turns into drama. Then you get stuck in the system. If there was a way for you to find more places for the unfortunate to go, that would make such a huge difference. I slept on top of a building last night. I’m desperate to get some sleep so I can get my feet under me. We don’t have anywhere to sleep, we’re exhausted and tired. The Mission has very few places and if it’s full, where should we go? There’s plenty of places to get food, but if you can’t get sleep you can’t get ahead. I’m desperately trying to get into rehab and I have meetings at 6 am and after moving all night to avoid police, it’s hard to move forward.”
"I have lived here about three years. I came here on a full-ride mathematics scholarship. I am very involved with the art community and I really do love it. Especially the community at The Artery here. I was pleasantly surprised when I moved to Fort Collins. I've never lived in such a big place. I grew up off-grid, in a small boarding school in the mountains outside of San Luis Valley in an isolated Tibetan Buddhist community. I like seeing how many types of people there are. I think I've learned a lot from my experiences. I definitely think awareness is super underrated. I think a large majority of people live their entire lives under constant stimulus, just one thing to another--what is my career or my goal, what thing do I need to buy? Yada, yada, yada...I realize more and more that's kind of the norm. If I could influence people I would promote self awareness. Nobody really takes the time to take a deep breath, and check in with themselves, to see how they are feeling, and why are they are feeling that way, etc. I'm very familiar with the topic of mental health as my mom is a therapist. I think it's really really important that people understand that whatever headspace they are in, it's not permanent and the brain has an incredible ability to change. The worst thing we can do is believe that we are stuck. We can alter our neuro pathways and feed the positive ones instead of the negative ones. It's really hard to do, but it's definitely possible through consciousness and awareness. We can do anything. I'm not depressed anymore. I don't want to kill myself. It's possible."
"I've lived in Fort Collins since 2007. After 20 years in the Navy I wanted to find a place to live where I could always feel like I'm on vacation. There's so much to like about this town, the people are more real, more genuine than anywhere else I've been. There's such a pay it forward mindset in Fort Collins. I enjoy walking my dog on the trails and being at the river.
I think digital media is a double-edged sword. Communicatively it's a fantastic tool, but I also see these kids using this tool to bully and purposely leave people out. It used to be that you hear about a party maybe 2 weeks after and wish you had been there, but now on social media you see that you're being left out in real time."
"I'm from here. I went to Berklee College of Music, in Boston, for vocal performance and professional music. After college, I moved to Nashville. I worked down there for a while doing songwriting with some other people. After a while, I had been missing Fort Collins in my heart. Coincidentally, I got a call from the Director I knew in my younger years with a job offer to move back to town and help build the little community at Galvanize. I said yes on a whim, quit my job in Nashville, and drove back to Fort Collins. I fell in love with the entrepreneurial spirit I was exposed to working in a new job. Much like musicians have a passion and deep ambition for their careers, entrepreneurs had a similar drive and passion. The people I was meeting here we're like, 'I'm totally going to change the world with this idea I have,' and I was just like oh my gosh this is awesome!! They have larger than life dreams, and it inspired me. Before long, I found myself on the steering committee for Fort Collins Start Up Week, which is where I met the Director of a brand-new idea just coming to fruition called the Music District. Learning about the combination of entrepreneurship and music, I was immediately hooked. I knew there was nowhere else I'd rather be. For me, I'm really lucky because I find happiness and relief in the industry I'm working in. So that helps keep me keep mentally sane. I also try really really hard to unplug when I get home. That, and my wonderful family that lives here...it's all just a balance."
"I am from New York but I've lived here in Fort Collins for 5 years and in Colorado 8 years. I love the bike culture, I love the friendly atmosphere, I love the creative people. Prior to my nitro cold brew cart, I was in HVAC repair and installation so I love tinkering and I built this cart. I enjoy making beverages and putting two ingredients together. Digital media has been great for my business and getting the word out to people in Fort Collins and beyond. I like to make beverages and use recipes that people have not heard of before."
Photo by Will Maestas
I was born in Ethiopia but I came to Fort Collins for college and then just stayed afterwards. I studied social work, and now I work at CSU. I've been here for 8 years. Fort Collins is my favorite during the summer. The liveliness, the warmth, all of the activities make Fort Collins, and especially Old Town, a great place to be. I appreciate that the diversity in this city is increasing. You always want to look around and find a face like yours, it makes you so much more comfortable. It's part of everyone finding a place of community, thats something that I really appreciate about Fort Collins. In Ethiopia, there is such a welcoming spirit. If you were a little kid in the street playing with other little kids and their parents called them in to eat, they would also invite you into eat. I try to bring that welcoming spirit into my life everyday.”
Photo by Zebra Jellyfish Photography
“I love the location of Fort Collins, we aren’t too far away from hunting and fishing spots. It’s not too big a town, it’s not too little of a town, so the big town problems don’t seem so big. We still have problems, but they aren’t too horrible. Bad stuff hasn’t really happened to me, but I hear about it everyday on the news. You gotta take everything you hear with a grain of salt nowadays.”
Photo by Zebra Jellyfish Photography
“People are good in Fort Collins. I’ve been locked up for 3 years but I’m glad I got out and I’m in the place where I’m at right now. I was doing drugs in the past, I had dirt on people. I’ve had to change things up, the way I think and who I want to surround myself with. My homie Law and I have been through this like no other. I’m glad to be alive and share my story.”
Photo by Zebra Jellyfish Photography
"We've only been in Northern Colorado for two years, we moved here from the DC area. There are a lot of free spirits here. Unique people. People can dress they way they want, they can say different things, its a lower stress environment than where I came from. Its very politically active, and there are quite a few charities that I am involved in out here, including a national organization that provides scholarships to women that are graduate students. I'm involved with the democratic party, since the election I've been very involved in that and with local candidates."
“I moved from Florida and he moved from Denver, but we live in Fort Collins now. We have been here for a year, we met her and we love Fort Collins. The people and the environment are so nice, very different from where we lived before.”
Photos by Zebra Jellyfish Photography
“I moved here from Maryland for CSU, I was a forestry major. I love that there is no humidity here. I worked at Safeway for 32 years, now I am retired with full benefits. Fort Collins is just a fun place to live, but it is getting a little big now. When I moved here Drake Road was a dirt road. I don’t know, it’s just getting a little too big for me. I’m ready to head down to the San Juans.”
Photo by Sonja K Photography