PAL has partnered with the CHILL Foundation a few seasons now and each and every year we are so impressed with the impact this organization has on the youth that participate. Long bus rides, snowboarding lessons, inevitable crashes, and finally getting down the mountain, all provide for a number of life lessons learned and experienced in just one day!
Not just a snowboarding experience, CHILL staff teach the youth weekly themes and lessons that are then reinforced during the physical activities of the day. The idea seems simple, but the way it plays out always leaves a lasting impression. For example, one weekly theme is responsibility. Conversations lead by staff and volunteers on the bus surround what responsibility means, how it plays out in day-to-day life, why it is important, etc. Then the real lessons begin up on the mountain. It is here participants get a taste of experiential learning as they have to practice responsibility while learning a new skill, helping others in the group, and taking on a trying physical task.
To cap off the experience, there is a debrief conversation on the bus ride home. This is when participants have to answer the question, “How did you see responsibility being played out tonight?” In the past we’ve heard youth talk about the responsibility of listening and following directions given by the adults in charge, and they have recognized just how important that is in order to stay safe and have fun.
Overall, the youth are usually just astounded by how much fun they are having while still learning some tough lessons. The relationships they build with each other and with the volunteer officers that join them on the trip, is always incredible to see. Thank you so much to the CHILL Foundation for providing such amazing opportunities to the youth in Vancouver! We wouldn’t be hearing or sharing these stories without you!