Burton Riglet invited guest Blogger, Erin Overholt to share her experience of helping teach kids to snowboard through Gone Snowboarding’s Riglet school and on-snow sessions. Erin is a student of the Gone Boarding Program from Forest Hills Northern HS, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read below to learn more about Erin’s experience.
Imagine being 4 feet tall, in grade school, and getting to spend an hour at Cannonsburg Resort with high school “professional” snowboarders, learning how to snowboard for the first time. Life doesn’t get much better than that! Little do the kids know, life doesn’t get much better for us high school students either. We get to be a part of something like Gone Boarding’s Riglet program.
As part of the Gone Boarding program, high school students work with grade school kids by going to their elementary, physical education classes to provide them with intro lessons on snowboarding. We later go with the kids to an on-snow learning experience at Cannonsburg Resort in Michigan. We typically try to stick with the same classes to create stronger bonds with all of the kids. I personally made great relationships with the kids I worked with during the school sessions. When they saw me at Cannonsburg for the on-snow portion, they ran up to say hi and even gave me hugs. It made my day.
CANNONSBURG ON-SNOW SESSION
On snow at Cannonsburg, the kids were all bundled up in their snow gear, cheeks red, and huge smiles on their faces. They were all very excited for their first, on-snow snowboarding experience. They started off with warm-ups and jumping jacks. Then we split them into groups to be taught by Cannonsburg snowboard instructors with help from Gone Boarding students.
The sessions lasted an hour each. We assisted them down a mini hill in a straight glide until they were able to make it down on their own. It was a proud moment when a kid I was working with made it all the way through their straight glide on their own. Watching them throw their arms in the air in excitement brought nothing but joy and laughter to us all.
We were able to bring the kids up the magic carpet to the top of the bunny hill to show them the view from a bigger hill. The ones who had never been to a snow resort before were amazed at the difference of view from the top of even the smallest hill at Cannonsburg.
HEADING TO THE RIGLET PARK
Finally, we brought the kids into the Riglet Park. In the Riglet Park they were pulled around on their snowboards over boxes, bumps, through cones, a mini half-pipe, and more. This is where they began to have some serious fun. Everyone enjoyed the Riglet Park and getting to go through the different obstacles. The daring kids would pop an ollie over the bumps or want to be pulled as fast as possible through the half-pipe. It was also fun for us to watch and see what different features the kids would try. All the Gone Boarding students got a serious workout from pulling a bunch of grade school kids through the park, along with running up and down the straight glide hill.
At the end of the session, we got to watch the kids go back to their parents and tell them about the great time they had. We had many thankful parents and kids come up to us and tell us how great their experience was. Seeing kids and parents walk out with a smile on their face definitely made every part of the Riglet experience worth it.
I was told that working with the kids through Gone Boarding was a highlight of the class. As much as I love surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, longboarding, paddle boarding, and even getting the opportunity to make my own boards, those things will never make me feel the same way as working with these kids did. Getting to mentor these kids and share something with them that I love very much, and then bring them out to one of my favorite places to experience it, was something I will never forget. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Learn more about the Gone Boarding program and their mission to “Inspire young people to pursue their passions and to create opportunities for them to realize their full potential through experiences and serving others.”