The story of the charity Snow-Camp started in 2003 when a group of youth workers took 13 young people from London to the French Alps to learn how to ski. It was an out-of-reach experience for all. And life-changing.
"We just knew we had something really special" says Dan Charlish, the founder of Snow-Camp.
The group "were at a high-risk of becoming involved in the negative activities that were surrounding them…there was something about the shift in environment from where the young people were living day to day to somewhere beautiful that had a real impact".
Over the last 14 years, the charity has worked with over 8,500 young people. From London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham. Programmes have developed from a week long ski trip to an accredited journey of programmes that is unique, effective and attractive to young people taking them from beginner to qualified snowsports instructor over the course of one year at artificial slopes in the UK.
And it’s so much more than teaching people a hobby. Anyone that has visited the slopes knows that learning to ski or snowboard requires perseverance, commitment, patience, overcoming fear, teamwork and determination - all essential life-skills.
The charity also promotes nationally accredited qualifications in Health and Fitness, Activity Leadership and Snowsport England/Scotland and BASI Instructor Qualifications, as well as vocational training and work experience opportunities.
Over on the Snow- Camp website you can hear from various young people who have completed the Snow-Camp Programme Journey, including Aimee from London.
‘The area I’m from is boring, full of drugs and crime; it can be really negative and not a nice place to live. To be offered something more positive is amazing’.
As part of the Apprenticeship Programme, Aimee completed a work placement at SkiWorld’s head office, where she supported the HR department. She also volunteered at the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard Show and the 2017 Delancey British Championships in Tignes. She’s now enrolled in college and plans to work a ski season to further her career in the industry once finished.
To find out more about supporting Snow-Camp or how to get involved head to their website > https://www.snow-camp.org.uk