Return Visitors: Nonprofits unite to bring inner-city students to the slopes for a life-changing experience
March 14, 2023
THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (March 14, 2023) – National and local nonprofit organizations are demonstrating the power of collaboration to bring students from the city to the slopes. Crystal Community Ski Club, SOS Outreach, Share Winter Foundation and the YMCA are celebrating their second year of outreach opportunities together at Crystal Mountain.
Two different trips with one mission - to create a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming community connected by the joy and camaraderie of sliding on snow.
As part of the SOS Outreach Learn to Ski/Ride program, around two dozen students from Hamtramck High School will board a bus from the metro-Detroit area to Thompsonville, Mich. The group arrives on Wednesday and will experience skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor recreation during their three day trip. For many, it’ll be their first visit to northern Michigan.
“Hamtramck is a unique community whose wealth lies in its diversity of cultures,” Hamtramck English Teacher Jessica Madden said. “Many of the students participating in the SOS Learn to Ride program have not had the chance to venture much further than the metro-Detroit area to experience the beauty of the rest of the Great Lakes state.”
The group will be greeted at Crystal Mountain on Wednesday by members and coaches of Crystal Community Ski Club (CCSC). Day Two will consist of gearing up for a ski or snowboard lesson and then showing off their new skills after lunch at the Clipper Café. Before they head home Friday, they’ll explore the Michigan Legacy Art Park, featuring sculptures that represent Michigan history and culture.
"Crystal Community Ski Club and Crystal Mountain share similar core values surrounding community and bringing people together – near and far,” CCSC Operations Manager Hunter Steinkamp said. “Creating opportunities for kids to learn new skills, build confidence, experience snow sports and make new friends is not only the right thing to do, but it’s vital to the future of our industry. We consider it a distinct privilege to work with groups like Hamtramck High School and Flint YMCA, and look forward to growing the partnerships year after year.”
The Hamtramck group first visited in 2022. Their visit this year comes just a couple weeks after CCSC hosted a youth ski group from the YMCA of Greater Flint at Crystal Mountain, marking their second visit. Flint’s most recent trip and their first trip in 2021 was made possible through the Share Winter Foundation. CCSC and Flint YMCA are Share Winter grantees.
Share Winter will fund more than 45,000 youth in programs across the country this year, fueling the next generation of winter sports participants and enthusiasts.
“Through our partnerships, we strive to make winter sports accessible to a broader, more diverse community, and share winter with 100,000 youth by 2028,” stated Share Winter CEO Constance Beverley.
“Learning together in person and participating in after-school activities have a tremendous impact on the health and success of our students,” Madden said. “The chance to travel and explore the serene landscape of Benzie County is no trivial opportunity for us, and we are grateful for the generous organizations who are making it happen.”
Last year, CCSC reached more than 850 youth through a dozen different programs including Nordic Rocks, Master the Mountain, Alpine Racing, Junior Instructor and Teen Leadership. Club members can choose which program best fits them, even if that means trying something new. Coach Steinkamp says it’s all about students finding their niche.
“I believe there is a certain magic in all of our programs,” he said. “I see kids taking pride in new skills acquired, accomplishing goals they have set, opening new doors, making new friends and building outdoor, healthy lifestyles with big smiles on their faces.”
Crystal Community Ski Club relies on the generosity of community sponsors and donors. To help the program provide equipment, scholarships, instruction and mentorship, tax-deductible donations can be made online. For more information about the upcoming 2023-24 season, follow Crystal Community Ski Club on Facebook.
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