The Wediko School, The Home’s special education school in Windsor, New Hampshire, recently launched it’s annual ski and snowboard program in partnership with Pats Peak, a ski area in the nearby town of Henniker. This free, five-week program offers an opportunity for approximately 20 students each week to learn how to ski and snowboard, and for more experienced students, to strengthen their skills. All participants receive complimentary equipment rentals to ensure that no financial barriers come between interested students and this opportunity to hit the slopes with their classmates and faculty.
“One of the most meaningful aspects of the program is actually the conversations students have with staff on the chairlift. It gives students and staff the opportunity to connect in a new way and to bond over the experience,” said Audrey Bethel, Clinical Director at The Wediko School, who coordinates the program and is a lifelong skier and snowboarder. “We change up the pairings every week so that students can build relationships with multiple staff members.”
Learning to ski and snowboard helps students build several important life and social skills. Students learn to cheer on and support each other, practice self-control and cooperation, and experience the outdoors in a new and healthy way. It also serves as an incentive to practice positive behaviors in the classroom in order to be eligible for the weekly ski trips. Each week gives students the opportunity to explore and experience their own growth on the slopes, helping them build confidence and awareness of their own abilities.
“It’s such a powerful experience because it’s a normalizing activity for our youth. A lot of our students feel ostracized from other kids their age, but the mountain is full of teenagers and it gives our kids the opportunity to do something other kids their age are doing – and to just have fun and fall in love with a healthy hobby that can be lifelong for them,” said Bethel.
Located on 450 lakefront acres in New Hampshire, The Wediko School is a residential treatment center offering therapeutic and educational services for middle and high school aged kids experiencing significant social-emotional, behavioral, and educational challenges. To learn more, please click here.