This week I started chaperoning with the Burton Chill Program. The Chill Program is... well, I'll just let their website say it for me:Chill is a non profit, learn to ride board sports program for at risk kids. Every year, we take over 100 kids from each city to the slopes, beach and skate parks and provide them with everything they need to ride: lessons, transportation, gear, and tickets, whatever. Kids want to learn how to snowboard, surf, and skate because it's cool and fun, but it takes several lessons and tons of hard work to learn. We use board sports to help kids accomplish goals they never thought they could while teaching them some of the most important lessons of life- patience, persistence, responsibility, courage, integrity, and pride-all through positive adult role models who treat them with respect and encouragement. http://www.burton.com/Chill/Default.aspx
Last Thursday night was our first night with the kids, and it was great. First we meet up at the mouth of the canyon at a secure location . All the kids go through an assembly line process kitting them out with all the gear that they need for a night shredding mission. Hat, gloves, goggles, boots, pants, jackets, and a board. Myself and the other chaperone's run this as efficiently as possible, but, getting this many kids set up is like trying to herd cats. But, before long we're all on the bus and on our way up to Brighton. From there the kids and some of the chaperones get some time with the fine instructors at Brighton.
Snowboarding for as long as I have, I can't really teach anyone how to snowboard. I don't really even consider the mechanics of it anymore. I don't know how you're suppossed to push your foot to make a C turn onto your toeside edge, I've just been doing it for so long it's second nature. Listening to the instructors break it down 10 different ways for 10 different kids and having it make sense for them is really amazing. Being an instructor day in day out would probably take it's toll on me, so, I really have to hand it to the instructors of the world with their infinite patience as they introduce the masses to the joys of snowboarding.
This Thursday it was dumping at Brighton. The snow was coming down at about two inches an hour. But, the kids seemed energized by the weather and most seemed to completely disregard the snow. Goggles up, jackets open. There were a lot of wet kids on the bus at the end of the night. But, all I could see were smiles.
Some kids just bomb it down the hill, others were a little more cautious opting for slower speeds, but, in all the kids you can see their excitement to be up in the mountains, trying something new. I've been snowboarding for so long I can sometimes take it for granted. But, watching these kids I'm forced to remember those first exciting moments on a skateboard, surfboard, or snowboard where I took a chance not knowing the outcome and managed to ride out the other end. Of course I also remember the other times when you didn't quite make it. But you got up and did it again until you stuck it.
I'm excited to be a small part of a cool program that makes me remember why I'm so lucky to get to snowboard. 5 weeks to go. Can't wait.