Ski Club Creates Special Sense of Community at Ed Smith

     Published on 3/19/18   Tagged under:    District News    Extra-Curricular    Ed Smith   

Ed Smith students pose on the ski slopes during a weekly ski club excursion.For six weeks every winter, a group of more than 40 Ed Smith students boards a bus and settles in for a ride to Toggenburg Mountain.
The Ed Smith Ski Club, open to fourth through eighth graders, has been in operation for more than 26 years. Retired social worker Linda Kraemer took over advising the club when she started at Ed Smith in the 1992 ski season and has continued running it each year since.
“I didn’t want to see it end when I retired,” she said. “It’s a nice way for me to stay connected at Ed Smith.”
Students arrive at Toggenburg about 4 pm. They free ski for an hour, and then fourth through sixth graders and new skiers are required to take part in a one-hour lesson. At 6 pm, the group eats a potluck dinner, organized by staff; and the evening wraps up with an hour of more skiing before the students board a bus about 8:15 to return to school.
“For some of the kids, these six weeks are their only chance to ski – their only chance to get out of the city, to be outdoors and socialize outside of school with kids in other grades,” Ms. Kraemer explained. “The change it brings about in their self-confidence is amazing. Kids who start out as tentative or nervous end up being so confident – it really helps their self-esteem.”
The Ski Club has become a tradition that even runs in families. Eighth grader Madeline Scott is the third in her family to take part in Ed Smith’s Ski Club. Her family skis together and occasionally, her parents will join the school group on their outings.
“My parents signed me up for skiing at a young age, and I thought it would be nice to go every week,” Madeline said, explaining her interest in the school’s Ski Club. “It’s fun to go with school because you can hang out with your peers, ski together, talk and have dinner together. It’s cool that we have the opportunity to do it, because I know that other schools don’t.”  
Fourth grader Luke Scanlon also joined the Ski Club because of a family connection.
“I saw my brother snowboarding and he said it was fun,” he explained. “So I wanted to do it, too. Ski Club is fun because my best friends are all in it, too, so we get to ski together every week.”
What a unique opportunity for our Ed Smith students!