Nonprofits across the state have teamed up to give high school students from Metro Detroit a chance to hit the slopes here in Northern Michigan.
The Crystal Community Ski Club has teamed up with SOS Outreach, Share Winter Foundation and the YMCA to bring students from Hamtramck High School up to Crystal Mountain. Many of the students that visited have never had the opportunity to ski or visit Northern Michigan all together. One student, Mohamad Dagena, says he’s had a blast on the trip.
“It’s really great, I love the views, I love the trees. I love it here,” Dagena acknowledges
The Crystal Community Ski Club’s Operation Manager, Hunter Steinkamp, says they want to get more people interested, and bring more diversity to the sport.
“We think getting people out here on the snow is for everybody. It’s important that we get out and reach out to people that otherwise don’t have that access,” Steinkamp states.
This is just the second year they’re putting on the event. Last year they brought 16 students, and now this year 35 students made the trip. Jessica Madden is an English teacher at Hamtramck High School and one of the chaperones on the trip. She says students have been excited about this year’s trip ever since they got back from last year’s trip.
“Crystal Mountain is known around our school. We have about a thousand kids in the school, and the kids that haven’t come here hear about how legendary it is,” Madden declares.
Madden says students aren’t just passing the time away in Northern Michigan. She says the trip helps the students learn and grow.
“One of the most amazing things is seeing the growth from the students and the confidence from when they first put on the skis or snowboard. They’re really having fun,” Madden admits. “It opens doors that weren’t there before.”
The trip last two days as students receive a tour of the mountain, go on a hike at Michigan Legacy Art Park and ski. Another one of the students who made the trip up, Mutaz Ismaeo, says he’s always wanted to ski and is happy to finally get the opportunity.
“It give me the skill to develop talking to others. I became socially better because a lot of people are together and we are developing skills together, which makes it easier for others,” Ismaeo explains.
The Crystal Community Ski Club says they plan to continue putting on the event and are looking forward to next year.
“We’re so excited to have them up here and see the smiles on their faces and share this beautiful place, and one of our favorite sports to the kids,” Steinkamp says.