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Teaching Boy Scouts

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
OK I"m a good skier and been doing it 35 years but have only have professional lessons myself recently, and not as a beginner, but to undo all the stuff that I had learned the hard way- on my own.

We have our annual ski trip coming up with the Boy Scouts. I want to be able to teach these kids how to ski. This is my third year, normally I spend an hour showing them pizza and then let them go, tell them to stay on the green trails. This year I'd like to spend more time and get them skiing well and carving turns.

I know how to teach them to carve, but how do I teach them beginner skills, then get them beyond that quickly? I expect to have 3 to 4 first time on skis, some more who have skied once or twice, and maybe some experience pizza tuckers. I know I'll have one kid who can't stand up on skis without falling down.

Pro lessons are out of the question. Most of these kids have saved all year just to pay for the lift ticket and rentals. So I'm their only hope.
post #2 of 20
Hooooo Boy!

Slow down there nimrod ...

"Be Prepared"


Most of these kids will be renting gear ... and most ski packages come with a discount .. ie .. a few dollars more ... like chump change .. will get a lesson and rentals.

Even if that's not the case, you and your group will be spending some money at the destination resort and that alone may buy you some clout in getting a few kids into an intro lesson.

A call to resort services or the Ski School Director may just get these kids the lesson they need and beginner lessons are the most critical "make em' or break em' for entry into skiing.

and

If you post the name of the resort there may be a sympathetic Bear who is willing to toss a "pro-bono" hour with these kids.

Even my cheapskate area used to give the Scouts free rental gear when I tossed a few out for bringing outdated and dangerous equipment to the annual Scout Day .... what a merit badge dog and pony show that was!

And a lot of fun too ..... great kids .... we would do an "assembly line" with over a hundred or so in all levels.
post #3 of 20

Be prepared

Southern Man,

Well, we could try to cram multiple days of how to be a ski instructor training into a forum thread, but there is a chance we won't have to.

You see, many resorts have a beginner package that includes lessons from professionals that is cheaper than rentals and a regular lift ticket. Which resort were you planning on going to and what ages are the scouts? Hmm - I see Sugar's learn to ski package isn't likely to fit the bill. Their learn to ski package is only midweek and the same price as a full day adult rental and lift pass.

My next recommendation would be to take an instructor training course from your local resort, but those are typically down in the fall for the indoor part and right at the beginning of the season for the on snow part. So that option is probably out for you too.

For $14.50 plus shipping you can get the Children's instructor handbook from PSIA (as a bonus it covers snowboarding too). It's not an ideal solution, but it's better than me trying to jam 100 pounds worth of teaching experience into a one pound forum post.
post #4 of 20
As a Scout leader myself, I think you're overreaching what you could accomplish with the kids in the 1 or 2 days you'll have them on the hill.

This should be an opportunity to let the kids simply have fun and enjoy the experience of being on the snow. The fact that they're scrimping to make this one trip suggests it is the only trip they're likely to make this year. For most of them being able to navigate the greens with their buds is all they need to make it a fun and rewarding trip. Trying to make them into intermediate skiers in a day or two will only serve to frustrate them.

I 2nd the notion of negotiating a beginner lesson/rental package for the kids. If you've got a larger group, the student/teacher ratio would get a lot better, but even with a smaller group, turning the basic instruction over to a pro will save you and the boys a lot of frustration.

Once the kids are turned loose, you can shadow them and encourage them to build their skills. There's probably one or two "naturals" in the group, so teach them one or two tricks and then stand back and let them share their new skill with the others.

If you've got a kid or 2 that is more advanced, you might suggest the Snow Sports Merit Badge to them. The requirements for the badge require intermediate level skills, so make sure to set the expectations that there's learning to be done before the badge can be awarded. If you're not a Merit Badge counselor, you might sign up with the Troop or local Council to become one. You might also find that some of the mountain staff are qualified as counselors as well.

You also want options for the kids who simply don't like it. Most everyone will try, but we usually have 1 or 2 kids who sit out the skiing because they simply don't enjoy it or they're afraid of it. Having a tubing park or sledding or X-C ski trails as options can go a long way to insuring everyone has a good time.

Remember, the first objective is to have fun!

Good luck!!
post #5 of 20
The groups I was doing required the completion of the beginners class to get the snow sports merit badge.

Large groups and a few times we had to spend a little extra time with a few .. but they had to be doing linked turns to get the badge.
post #6 of 20
Yuki,

The current requirements include the following skills demonstrations for the alpine skiing option ...

Quote:
i. On a gentle slope, demonstrate some of the beginning maneuvers learned in skiing. Include the straight run, gliding wedge, wedge stop, sidestep, and herringbone maneuvers.
j. On slightly steeper terrain, show linked wedge turns.
k. On a moderate slope, demonstrate five to 10 christies.
l. Make a controlled run down an intermediate slope and demonstrate the following:
  • Short-, medium-, and long-radius parallel turns
  • A sideslip and safety (hockey) stop to each side
  • Traverse across a slope
m. Demonstrate the ability to ski in varied conditions, including changes in pitch, snow conditions, and moguls. Maintain your balance and ability to turn.
Although there's room to allow less experienced kids to pass the badge, the yardstick I usually use is the ability to vary turn shape and control speed on an intermediate slope. I'll choose the trail based on the experience of the boy ... barely blues for the less experienced kids and almost blacks for the more experienced boys. In particular requirements (l) and (m) suggest a skill level beyond just a beginner's class.

For those interested, the full merit badge requirements can be found at http://meritbadge.org/index.php?title=Snow_Sports
post #7 of 20
I was just the paid by the hill instructor for a few of these "Scout-A-Thons" .... I thought it sounded like they were giving the badge after making out of the Beginners Level 1 (PSIA) course.

I shouldn't comment with any degree of certainty however, in the "midst of the madness", I may have been reacting to the moaning of kids who were not making it ... as one of the stages of progression.

I was signing off on some card after they did a series of linked turns down a green. A step in working towards the badge .. not getting it the badge.

It was like that "Lucy Show" episode where they keep running the candy machine conveyor belt faster and faster .... more and more Scouts coming at me ... I still have nightmares ...
post #8 of 20
Read my post entitled Reflections of a SOS Mentor

I agree with the others. Negotiate a lesson plan with a pro, and use your time with them to use skiing as a way of encouraging scout values. Hope your trip is less "eventful" than my day in Breck with SOS. :
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
....For $14.50 plus shipping you can get the Children's instructor handbook from PSIA ....
Thanks- I just ordered it. This will help me when my friend's kids want some tips as well.

**********************************************

Our annual trip is to Snowshoe, WV. We don't stay at the resort, and get a killer deal at a local shop for rentals, so the resort has no incentive to toss us lessons for free.

I agree with y'all that it may be better to hire a pro instructor. As I recall I asked about this a while back and the idea recieved no interest. As several have already surmised, these kids first and foremost want to have fun, and therefore its hard to nail down how many are willing to sign up, pay for and commit lessons. But I know from experience once we get there a handfull will be looking at me for advice.
post #10 of 20
Hey Southern Man,

A couple of other ideas for ya ...
  • Contact the local (to Snowshoe) Scout council and ask for a list of Merit Badge counselors. Contact the counselors and ask for some volunteer help ... you might even find a few qualified instructors among the bunch.
  • Contact the ski school anyway! Even if there's no incentive, it never hurts to ask. Donating a couple of instructor hours to help a Boy Scout Troop is great PR and often just appeals to someone's sense of charity.
  • If you're at the mountain before the trip, make friends with a ranger, instructor or patroller. Tell 'em a good sob story, make 'em feel guilty ... then ask for help
  • Contact the rental shop and see if they can put you in touch with an off-duty instructor.
  • Beg for help on this forum ... probably an instructor or two local that might be willing to help.
I've been a volunteer with my son's Troop for 3 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how many ex-Scouts are out there and how many are willing to donate time to help. (Hell .. if WV was closer, I'd come down and help myself!)

Whatever you come up with have fun. I'm sure it will be a great experience for both you and the boys.
post #11 of 20
southern man,

Have you contacted the group sales department at your destination. Often if you have a sufficient number of people, you will qualify for a better rate for lift/rental/lesson package. If you are under the number thay are looking for, maybe invite a few friends or parents of the scouts to fill the quota. Aslo tell the sales person you are connected with BSA and they may make an exception if your numbers are too low for the group rate.

Good luck and have fun!

RW
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
southern man,

Have you contacted the group sales department at your destination. Often if you have a sufficient number of people, you will qualify for a better rate for lift/rental/lesson package. If you are under the number thay are looking for, maybe invite a few friends or parents of the scouts to fill the quota. Aslo tell the sales person you are connected with BSA and they may make an exception if your numbers are too low for the group rate.

Good luck and have fun!

RW

They're pretty good at giving us the group rate (20 min) if we are less than that. But our guys also get a weekend rental at a local shop for 10 bucks.
post #13 of 20
I hope you understood that my ..... nimrod ..... comment was used in the 1950's context.

Back then, a nimrod was an outdoorsman ... hunting & fishing

I understand that today ... it has become an insult ... sure didn't mean it that way.

post #14 of 20

Go Nimrods!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
I hope you understood that my ..... nimrod ..... comment was used in the 1950's context.

Back then, a nimrod was an outdoorsman ... hunting & fishing

I understand that today ... it has become an insult ... sure didn't mean it that way.

1950's.... heck, Yuki.... you've taken us back to biblical times!

This is way off topic, but a college roommate and I kept a collection of goofy sports team names. Among the goofiest (at least we thought) was the "Watersmeet Nimrods," from the UP Michigan. Here is their explanation of name origin....

Quote:
Watersmeet School began using the nickname the "Nimrod" in the year of 1904. By Biblical Accounts, Nimrod was "a mighty hunter before the Lord." According to the Old Testament, he established a great kingdom and founded a number of important Babylonian and Assyrian cities. Watersmeet, situated in the heart of the Upper Peninsula Ottawa National Forest, adopted the name because the forest is prime hunting land for waterfowl, deer, and bear.



..... all that said, I just thought you were being insulting!
post #15 of 20
Call Snoshoe---size of group???? can you get a bigger discount..


Otherwise read what you can before....then go with what Old Eastern Skiers wrote.
post #16 of 20
Southernman,

Quote:
They're pretty good at giving us the group rate (20 min) if we are less than that. But our guys also get a weekend rental at a local shop for 10 bucks.
I was refering to a group rate for the beginner package which should include lift, rental and lesson. Compare that with lift only, plus $10 for rental ( at an off site shop) and no lesson. A few extra bucks which includes a lesson could be a real value.

RW
post #17 of 20
Agree with RON WHITE !!

Our "beginner" package gives you something for free....you call it a lesson, I might call it rental...
ALSO-------and I am YELLING. Youth + First Timers + Rentals + Numbers in a group = someone's skis not fitting right, boots, bindings etc....now someone has to run back to the off site place


Better yet----at Liberty----once the beginner package is purchased, the "second day" (includes lift, lesson and rental) is only $39.00

Maybe a smaller mtn, but perhap better value?

What good is terrain that is never skied?
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well I just got back. I appreciate the advice from y'all.

We got rentals from a local place for $18/ per. That was key because it saved us time on Saturday morning.

We had 20 kids and 2 adults. 19 of them were "junior" tickets at $63 group rate but we asked about the student rate (they are all in middel or high school) so they gave us the student rate at $59.

We were all standing on top of the hill at 8:50 am Saturday waiting for the rope drop at 9. I'm real proud of them all because we didn't didn't get to our crash site until after 11 pm Friday, then had to set up cots and sleeping bags and such, plus get all those boys settled down and sleeping. We woke them up at 6am, got out the door to breakfast at Dairy Queen, then back to the bus for the 45 minute trip up the mountain. Anyone who's been on a bus tour knows how slow a group can be.

Six boys took me up the offer for the merit badge stuff. Only one was a beginner and I worked with him alone for three hours in the morning. The other five I let take advantage of the early moring fresh groomed trails. The begiiner roller skates weekly so that helped out a lot. By the end of the day (we skied until 8:45 pm) he was skiing with the last group standing, 6 of us including me and my son.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by I:)Skiing View Post
Agree with RON WHITE !!

Our "beginner" package gives you something for free....you call it a lesson, I might call it rental...
ALSO-------and I am YELLING. Youth + First Timers + Rentals + Numbers in a group = someone's skis not fitting right, boots, bindings etc....now someone has to run back to the off site place


Better yet----at Liberty----once the beginner package is purchased, the "second day" (includes lift, lesson and rental) is only $39.00

Maybe a smaller mtn, but perhap better value?

What good is terrain that is never skied?
I've tried to get these guys to opt for a two-day at a closer mountain but they love Snowshoe and won't consider any other place.
post #20 of 20
Southern man,

sounds like it all worked out really well. Great job.

RW
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