“A fantastic and beneficial project that just keeps getting better” Ed Leigh (BBC presenter)
Whilst the Olympics have been captivating the nation over the last 2 weeks, youth charity Snow-Camp have continued to run their youth programmes engaging and supporting inner city young people through snowsports. And the charity has seen levels of enthusiasm for engaging in sport surge over the Olympic period, with interest in signing up to Snow-Camp projects higher than ever before.
Director Dan Charlish said, ‘We have been running Snow-Camp programmes since 2003, but the Olympics seem to have captured the imagination of young people and it has been fantastic to see the demand for places on our snowsports beginner courses growing so rapidly!’
The charity uses a combination of snowsports, life-skills and vocational opportunities to support young people who would otherwise never have the opportunity to engage in snowsports. Their programmes enable young people to progress from beginner to instructor over the course of a year – with newly qualified young people then recruited to teach their peers in the next round of beginner courses.
Charlish said, ‘The fact that snowsports themselves haven’t featured in this Olympics doesn’t seem to have made any difference – young people have simply been inspired by what they have seen to try something new and aspirational, to challenge themselves and discover their own potential. Snowsports are perfect for capturing young people’s enthusiasm and channelling it positively. And with the winter Olympics in Sochi 2014 just around the corner, the potential to build on the legacy of these Olympics and ensure further positive impact for young people is huge.’
The charity is seeking to expend its youth support programmes to meet the new demand, but admits recent funding cuts have made this a challenge.
‘Of course we are delighted David Cameron has confirmed that funding will be available for our elite athletes, as these funds will create the role models in Rio that will inspire our young people once again,’ says Charlish. ‘But this inspiration will be wasted, and can even lead to a sense of anger and resentment amongst young people, if there is insufficient provision in place for young people to get involved at the grassroots and try new sports in response to what they have seen.
More funding at grassroots must accompany funding of elite athletes to enable all young people have better access to sports – and to ensure the Mo’s and Jessica’s of the future don’t get missed!’ www.snow-camp.co.uk