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Gaining Confidence and Control on the Slopes

Nathaniel Lesch-Huie, NKHS Clinical Social Worker in the Children and Family Services Department (CYFS), believes getting outside and connecting to nature can profoundly and positively impact anyone's mental health. With that in mind, Nathaniel created the CYFS Ski & Snowboard Program to help kids learn how to process information in a stressful environment and make quick decisions that will change their outcome. And to discover a new, fun way to enjoy the outdoors.

Skiing and snowboarding are not easy to learn; there is a lot of information to process. Learning to make it down the mountain safely means organizing your thoughts, quieting self-doubts, and maintaining physical warmth and comfort in a cold environment. Learning to manage the stress that comes with learning something new, like skiing and snowboarding, teaches children that they can overcome challenges and experience success even if the environment around them continues to assert its dominance, like when the wind blows, or the snow is falling.

Nathaniel's goal with this program is to teach kids how to develop the skills to overcome feelings of self-doubt and believe in their ability to overcome challenging moments. When the kids succeed on the mountain, navigating and gaining control over skis or a snowboard proves they can create success rather than continue to struggle or keep falling down.

The Ski & Snowboard Program runs from January to March. Each month, a different group of kids joins Nathaniel and other NKHS CYFS staff for some winter weather fun they might not otherwise get exposed to. In total, ten kids were able to participate in this program. NKHS would like to thank Burke Mountain for their generosity in extending the school rate to our agency and for being a valued community partner.