Here in Sun Valley, we take our winter sports about as seriously as life itself. In our little slice of paradise tucked away in between rows of snow packed peaks, there is a stunning culture of child development and growth. And this is demonstrated no better way than through our devotion to teaching children the beauty of skiing/snowboarding, and the sheer joy which comes with them both. In 1963, the Sun Valley Ski Club established a junior race committee with the purpose of putting children on junior national teams, and eventually, going so far as the greatest amateur competition in the world, the Olympics. Founded by members Jack Simpson, Jane Kneeland, and Pete Lane, the program was established as a non-profit and the SVSEF was born. Since then, the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation has instilled the values of sportsmanship, citizenship, character, teamwork, creativity, passion, and perseverance into the young minds of Sun Valley. Today, the SVSEF teaches the sports of alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing to children of all ages. They are continuing their dedication and focus on creating talented and successful athletes, yet more importantly, they are driving home the values and characteristics that all kids should have to better their wellbeing. The SVSEF mission is this: “To provide exceptional snowsport programs for the youth of the Wood River Valley thereby enabling each participant to reach his/her athletic potential, while developing strong personal character through good sportsmanship, strong values, and individual goals.” The Sun Valley Ski Education was founded not with the sole purpose of creating champions who will bring some form of glory to the valley, but the idea that through sports, it is possible to teach children values that they will be able to carry with them the rest of their lives. I myself was once a part of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and my sister currently is a top Nordic skier in her age group. One thing that we have both noticed is the incredible level of enthusiasm the coaches bring to training every day, and the awesome involvement of the upper levels of the organization within the community. Groups like this, whose only goal is to help future generations grow and prosper in this world, is a large part of what makes our little valley so amazing.
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