Talking to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, Snow-Camp learnt that many youngsters were attracted to snowsports but felt unable to take part. They therefore developed programmes to meet young people on their terms, building activities that fit around their interests and circumstances across the country.
Snow-Camp encourages the young people they work with to become young leaders. When a young person completes their year-long programme, they gain an instructors qualification, and then volunteer for the charity, teaching the next cohort of young people. Not only is this empowering for the young leaders, it's inspirational for the new young people.
Snow-Camp completed an impact evaluation earlier this year on the 820 young people who have taken part in the programme across England, Wales, Scotland The evaluation concluded that 93% of young people gained a new accredited qualification, 91% of young people who completed the full programme moved on to either further education, training or employment. And 97% said Snow-Camp had significantly helped with their personal development.
When Connor McKee, from Kirkintilloch in Scotland, was first introduced to Snow-Camp he was eighteen years old, homeless and jobless. Connor had just finished school, but with no qualifications he didn’t know what to do next. In Connor’s own words he “had a lot of issues growing up, with things like sexuality”, that led to him being unsure of his place in the world.
Connor found out about Snow-Camp through the Prince’s Trust and describes it as his “saving grace”. Through Snow-Camp Connor could experience snowsports for the first time, starting with a 2-day introduction to skiing through to training to become a Snowsport Scotland Level 1 instructor. For every hour on the slopes, Connor spent the same amount of time in the classroom taking part in life-skills sessions and working towards an ASDAN Level 1 in Sport and Fitness, First Aid and Safeguarding Training and an NVQ Level 1 in Activity Leadership. The skills Connor learned at Snow-Camp have helped him become an outdoor educator and youth worker with Royston Youth Action.
Connor still volunteers with Snow-Camp, is passionate about giving back, and believes that Snow-Camp can help change the lives of young people.
“I’m really happy. I’ve been settled in my flat for four years now and my life is awesome. I’ve got a great job and my life has a purpose now. Snow-Camp gave me an opportunity and now, through my job and volunteering with Snow-Camp, I can give an opportunity to someone else.”
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