Monday, July 15, 2024

NIMSEF continues to sharing the Schweitzer Experience with local children

| September 7, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — North Idaho Mountain Sports Education Fund, Inc’s scholarship application for the upcoming ski season is now open for area youth to learn how to ski at Schweitzer.

“People come from all over to enjoy North Idaho’s world-class outdoor activities. However, while tourists and those involved in the local ski industry clearly understand the joy that snow sports offer, many in the shadows of the mountain have no idea,” said Jeff Rouleau, NIMSEF president.

“A large percentage of the children growing up with Schweitzer Mountain Resort in their ‘backyard’ never experience the joy and freedom the slopes provide. These kids, whose families are the hard-working backbone of the community, never experience what many of us take for granted,” he said.

Skiing and snowboarding are simply too expensive for many North Idaho families. Many local children go to school and hear their classmates recalling the great weekend they had on the mountain, and they yearn to experience such a fun sport, he said.

This was illustrated by a fourth grade student who was given a free day of skiing and lessons, wrote a thank you note saying: “Thank you for the best day of my life. I probably won’t see any of you ever again. So goodbye.”

NIMSEF was founded to give children like this more than just one day on the mountain. Expenses are minimal, allowing the majority of donations to directly benefit the children we sponsor. NIMSEF exists to provide all the children of our community with an opportunity to participate in skiing/snowboarding.

We believe this not only provides the child with a lifelong activity, but it gives the child a sense of belonging, accomplishment, and pride. All of which can help children do better in school, stay off drugs, have a good work ethic, etc.

The NIMSEF program not only teaches skiing/snowboarding, but engages the children, allowing them to work for a portion of their tuition and participate in fundraising. We believe this will help the children value their gift, build their work ethic and learn to give back to others.

Schweitzer works with NIMSEF and set up a program — at greatly reduced tuition — that will enroll our scholarship students in an 8-week, all-day lessons program. All children aged 7-17 who qualify based on economic need and live in Bonner and Boundary counties can receive a season pass, bus pass, and equipment rental and the lesson program via Schweitzer and NIMSEF. The program created by Schweitzer puts the children in groups of similar age and ability, and the group stays with the same coach for the entire program (all coaches are certified instructors).

This all-day program takes place on either Saturday or Sunday, but the pass and equipment rental are valid all season.

Donations in support of the scholarship program can be made to: North Idaho Mountain Sports Education Fund, Inc. (NIMSEF), P.O. Box 170, Ponderay, ID 83852.