AIASF Snow Camp with Narooma High School Students
Sponsored by Burton & Chill Foundation – 14 to16 September, 2016
On Wednesday the 14th September, 2016, Narooma High School students and teachers joined other indigenous children from Canberra and AIASF, Burton/Chill Foundation and Action Learning Initiatives staff at Friday Flat Thredbo. After a quick introduction, the group enjoyed a hot lunch at the Friday Flat Bistro before getting kitted out with Burton Snowboards and gear at the ski hire next door. The group then proceeded to the ALI Lesson area for a two hour lesson with Thredbo Instructors, learning how to push their boards along and ride the “Easy – Does it” chairlift in the beginners area.
We were indeed fortunate to be joined by NITV reporter Rachael Hocking and cameraman David Long, who had joined the students in Narooma and spoke with them prior to their journey and followed the group to Thredbo to document the wonder of them seeing snow for the first time and the students enjoying the opportunity to learn a new sport and experience the pristine Alpine Region of the Kosciusko National Park.
National Indigenous TV broadcast this item about our 2016 Snowboarding program.
We thank NITV for the opportunity to inform the viewing public of the work the AIASF is doing for urban, remote and rural Aboriginal children through eligibility to our snow camp programs offered to students as a reward for good school attendance and behaviour. More information on the story can be found here.
NITV and AIASF were generously kitted out with all our snow gear by Harro’s Snow Sports – Crackenback whose industry knowledge and help since our inception has been paramount to the success of our programs.
We also had the lucky experience of running into the 60 remote area children from Wongutha Christian Aboriginal Parent-Directed Boarding School in Western Australia, who were enjoying their first trip to the Eastern States in 17 years. These youth came from the Kimberly’s, Derby and remote areas of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It was a magical experience to have the 60 WA students and Teachers together with the 20 Narooma High School students and support teachers all enjoying the experience together for the first time.
The group had last runs at 4.30pm before returning to Bungarra Alpine Centre having made arrangements for the Wongutha CAPS Teachers and Students to meet up after dinner with the Narooma High School mob, allowing them to meet, play pool or ping pong whilst the teachers got to yarn up about the wonderful experiences the children were having.
Thursday morning the group awoke early with anticipation of a full day on the snow. It had been snowing throughout the night and the students experienced snow falling quite heavily.
As we progressed up the mountain it became a winter wonderland with snow draped through the trees, covering the road, providing a great new base for the students to learn on.
The snowplough clearing the road was an added attraction to the drive up the mountain to Thredbo Resort. Lessons began at 10.30 with the group rapidly honing the skills of snowboarding before a hot lunch in the bistro where we were able to watch the snow tumbling down outside making for a true alpine experience.
With lunch over, many of the students were keen to ride the Gun barrel Chairlift to Merritt’s with the Burton instructors for a few longer and steeper runs.
Friday morning began early with another nourishing breakfast in the dining hall, the group packed and departed for their last day on the mountain. The group met at 9.30am with Burton/Chill staff for free riding with many wanting to progress to Merritt’s now confident and yearning to try steeper and longer slopes, excited at their new found enjoyment of snowboarding. At 10.30am the group had a final lesson with the Thredbo instructors before joining with ALI, Burton/Chill and AIASF staff back at Friday Flat Bistro for lunch after which a they formed into small groups of 4 to challenge different areas of the mountain.
The AIASF was very lucky to have well known Thredbo resident Butch Young, a retired ski instructor with over 40 years of Thredbo ski terrain experience, join our group as a mentor and volunteer instructor for a few runs on the mountain. Butch Young is the father of seasoned Archibald Portraiture Prize finalist Zoe Young who is generously providing fundraising opportunities with proceeds from a limited edition print going towards our AIASF snow camps for 2017. Thank Zoe and Butch, we are very lucky to have you on board.
It is with much pride that the AIASF can announce that some of the group became so confident of their new found ability that they were prepared to try the “High Noon” run from Merritt’s. This is an absolute amazing result for students who had not even seen snow some 2 days earlier.
You could see the pride on their faces and hear the excitement in their voices as they relayed stories of how they “ripped” and “planted” on different runs, with laughter filling the lunch area. It was joyful to overhear the snow lingo adopted so quickly be this new bunch of snowboarding addicts….
A very big thank you to Ash McCann and Lucas McGrath from Burton Australia together with Angela Nolan – Chill Foundation for their involvement and generous sponsorship of this snow camp for Narooma High School students. The dedication of the Ash, Lucas and the Thredbo Instructors was apparent with the quick progression and enjoyment of snowboarding by the students.
The group returned their gear at 1pm and headed down the mountain for the long journey home, bringing another successful AIASF snow camp to an end.
The AIASF would like to thank our Sponsors for making all of this possible, without your input we would not be able to do what we do: