Snow-Camp: Emily's Experience
A blog from Emily...
What Is Snow-Camp?
Snow-Camp is a UK snow sports youth charity. They offer vulnerable young people from youth service providers in the city to gain qualifications, life skills and work experience to increase their motivations and aspirations, enabling them to gain employment in the snow sports industry and beyond. All of this is made possible through their Programme Journey.
Thanks to Snow-Camp I have gained my ASDAN Sports & Fitness Qualification and my UK Snow Sports Trained Level 1 Ski Instructor Qualification. I'm also a member of their Youth Forum where I shall volunteer on the courses.
Where Are They Based?
Snow-Camp run programmes in London, Scotland, Bristol, Cardiff, the Midlands and the North West. They use artificial and indoor snow sports centres. I attended the Fairwater Ski Slope.
What Have You Learnt?
A year ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd be where I am now. I have grown so much thanks to Snow-Camp. What I love about snowboarding is that you can clearly see your progression and the steps needed to improve. It's a solo sport so you can go at your own pace but you're also in a great positive group setting too.
This is exactly what I needed in that point of my life; I was on Employment Support Allowance due to being diagnosed with Depression and Social Anxiety Disorder. I began to develop these since I was 11. These disorders meant I couldn’t work, go to further education, or have a social life. Before Snow-Camp I mostly spent my days not leaving my room let alone the house. I started to believe that I would never achieve anything in my life.
Snow-Camp gave my weeks structure and something to look forward too. This sport gave me motivation and determination that I had never felt before. It wasn't always easy to get back up again every time I fell or messed up however the encouragement and positivity that the staff and other young people had was incredible.
The Graduate Course made me realise my potential and have hope for my future. I was excited by the vast opportunities out there within the snow sports industry. This really helped my confidence and my self-worth.
The Excel Course is what made me realise my passion for helping others. I loved having the opportunity to teach a newbie how to snowboard. Knowing that I was the one who taught this person how to ride down a slope was very rewarding.
My biggest challenge was going on the trip to France. Meeting with a bunch of new people that I would be spending a week with was nerve racking. Not only that, on the first session on the snow I heavily struggled to board. Going from a dry slope to snow was not a good experience. I was the only one who struggled with this however, I was given the opportunity to give skiing a try. This would be my first time learning to ski. Switching disciplines was a huge task however I set my goal to go to the top of the mountain and ski down within the week. I not only achieved that but managed to go down the mountain 3 times! I achieved a Snow Life Level 4 in skiing (a level higher than my snowboarding!). I was in disbelief that I had managed to gain this. I was also awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award within my region.
I will never forget my time in the French Alps and the amazing friendships that were made.
What Do You Hope For The Future?
The staff encouraged my newfound dream to become a youth worker and going to university. While I wait to apply, I have become a volunteer for Time To Change where I give talks to young people, businesses, and the general public of audiences between 10 - 50 people about the stigma and discrimination around mental health. I'm also a Crisis Volunteer for Shout, a crisis text line.
I have always wanted to go travelling and I look forward to planning to incorporate my dream to travel with my ability to ski and snowboard. I would love to visit Canada and Japan for a season away. With my prior customer and sales experience Snow-Camp have supported my idea of being a resort host/ representative. I love having so many opportunities that I can now pursue for the future.
How Can People Get Involved?
If you are interested to know more about this incredible charity take a look at their website https://www.snow-camp.org.uk/ where you can partake in The AJ Alpine Challenge Event - https://www.snow-camp.org.uk/events/aj-bell-alpine-challenge/
Or if you or someone you know is aged 13-21 then check out the Programme Journey on their website and apply. The programmes run from July-June each year. All young people must start at the beginning on First Tracks and have no prior snow sports experience.
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