Imagine never knowing the exhilaration of linking your first turns, or never even having the opportunity toexperience snow. Can you do it? Maybe, maybe not. Most of the kids in campCARE can imagine it-all tooeasily. In fact, if it weren’t for campCARE, chances are many of them would never see the snow at all, letalone learn to snowboard. There are over a half-million mentally, physically, or sexually abused teenagersliving in residential treatment facilities or group homes. campCARE was created with the hope of improvingthe lives of some of these at-risk kids through snowboarding. By establishing a series of free, week-longcamps, Founder and Executive Director Heidi Landau strives to provide a positive experience. “Themountain environment brings a sense of belonging, sharing, and acceptance to these kids,” says Landau.”When they learn to snowboard, they also learn how to better meet the challenges of their everyday lives.
Insecure youths become inspired by their success on the hill, and this new-found pride and confidenceempowers them. Snowboarding becomes the symbol for what they can do!” Landau has gathered 47snowboard-industry partners-including Burton, Gnu, K2, Lib Tech, Morrow, Northwave, Option, Palmer,Santa Cruz, Sims, Smith, and Westbeach-that provide outerwear; accessories; and complete board, boot,and binding setups for the kids to use while learning. They get to keep the gear when their camp is over,which makes it easier for them to continue riding. There are usually two kids for every certified instructor atcampCARE-this low ratio ensures campers get the individual attention they need to help build social skillsand behavioral development while learning to ride.
During the last three days of camp, each child even gets one-on-one coaching from a professional snowboarder. campCARE continues its efforts after camp is over by providing an ongoing mentorship and support program. Sponsoring mountain resorts have agreed to offerjobs to campers who complete their high-school education; the Crested Butte Marriott Resort was the firstsponsor to offer a job to one extraordinary teen upon his completion of the culinary program he’s presentlyenrolled in. The instructors, professional athletes, and sponsors all volunteer their time in an effort to help thekids develop trust, self-esteem, and a willingness to try new activities. In addition, the Vans Warped Tourhas made campCARE one of its main beneficiaries-a portion of all ticket sales will be donated to help defraycamp costs. This season, campCARE has sessions scheduled at Kirkwood, California (February); Mt.Baker, Washington (March); and Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon (April). For more information, please firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX: (802) 885-1130.-Leah Jones