Outreach Program

Blackhawk’s Outreach Program Gets Madison Area Youth Out Skiing

Blackhawk Ski Club hosts an after school cross country ski program for Madison area youth who normally wouldn’t get a chance to ski.

It’s almost 4:00 on a Wednesday afternoon at Blackhawk Ski Club and in an instant, the East Chalet is flooded with the cheerful voices of kids who are pouring in the door.

Taryn Buchanan, the program leader, has come a half an hour early to start a fire and set out food for the children who have piled in.

This is now what typical Thursday afternoons in January and February look like at the Blackhawk nordic skiing outreach program.

The Outreach program is led by Blackhawk Board Member Pete Lemberger and implemented with the help of the Madison School and Community Recreation and the Madison Nordic Ski Club.

The participants, children ages six to 12, come from the Madison School and Community Recreation after school program that offers different kinds of activities for the children: cross country skiing at Blackhawk being one of them. Volunteers from Blackhawk Ski Club and Madison Nordic Ski Club teach the kids how to cross country ski. Some of the volunteers drive over an hour to get to Blackhawk.

This program provides at risk kids with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in winter when they would otherwise be pent up inside. Furthermore, all participants learned to ski and hopefully some will continue to ski as they grow up. No doubt, as a result of the program, all kids now have a better appreciation for winter and the many recreational opportunities that are available.

Many of the kids who come to the after school program come from low income families and do not have proper winter outerwear so winter clothing was donated by Blackhawk and Madison Nordic Ski families, bike clubs around Madison, REI, Fontana and Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. We scrounge clothes from wherever we can get them!

In addition, Blackhawk has 50 pairs of cross country skis for the children thanks to a donation from Susan Remington and other cross country families.

The kids ski around with instructors playing games on skis, doing obstacle courses and skiing the trails until about 5:15 p.m.

And the kids love it.

“I’ve wanted to try skiing for a while, but I’ve never really got a chance,” ten year old Robin said.

“You get to ski and you get to meet new people,” eight year old Shawntay said was her favorite part about the program. “It’s really fun.”

“All we’re trying to do is expose them to a totally different setting than they would normally be exposed to and show them that they can have fun in the winter, outside, regardless of the weather, a volunteer  said.

People interested in volunteering can contact Taryn Buchanan at outreach@blackhawkskiclub.org

written by Pete Lemberger

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