Westminster Students Help Refugee Children Learn to Ski
Children from across the world learned to ski for the first time with the help of Westminster volunteers
Contact: Krista DeAngelis & Stephanie Carter (801) 832-2682
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY – With skis and poles in hand, 17 refugee children took to the slopes of Solitude Ski Resort for the first time ever on April 3. With the help of eight Westminster students and staff and volunteers from the Asian Association of Utah, the children were given their inaugural ski lesson as a part of an outreach program for refugee youth in Utah.
The children, ages 10 to 14 years old, came from countries such as Bhutan, Burma, Nepal, Burundi, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and the Congo. Many had never seen snow prior to coming to Utah, but were excited to experience the state’s “Greatest Snow on Earth.”
“Despite the blizzard conditions and wind, the kids seemed to have a terrific time,” said Safia Keller, Westminster volunteer. “They skied from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and asked when they could come back and do it some more.”
In addition to enjoying their ski experience, many of the children learned new phrases to describe their skiing techniques. Some of the words they learned were “pizza slice” describing a snowplow and “french fries” which described keeping your skis together.
Didier, a child from Tanzania, took note of several people powder skiing through the trees calling it “suicide”... how do they do that? It is suicide, they are going to die!”
Prior to the event, many of the children had no winter clothing. With the generous support of Westminster alumnus Corey Kirkwood, founder of Gear to Grow, the children were provided with winter clothing and accessories to use and keep.
Westminster’s Outdoor Recreation Program and Canyon Sports also donated goggles, glasses and other equipment for the kids to use for the day. Solitude Ski Resort donated lift tickets for both the children and volunteers. Harmons donated gift cards to buy food for the picnic lunch.
“We would like to make this an annual event and will hopefully be able to do so with the generosity of the companies who made it possible this year,” explained Keller.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow WestminsterSLC on Twitter.