A sports mentoring program is enabling eight underprivileged children to enjoy the slopes at Sun Peaks Resort.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kamloops and the Sun Peaks Bluebird Foundation have combined to match children with mentors willing to spend time on the mountain.
“I just like to see kids out there doing the same thing that I got to do when I was a kid,” said Joel Currie, who signed up for the mentoring program last winter.
“There are lots of kids who don’t get the opportunity to snowboard. It’s nice to see young kids out there enjoying themselves.”
The children are picked up every second Sunday from McDonald’s on the North Shore at 9 a.m., shuttled up the mountain for a day on the hill and returned at 4 p.m.
The program started Jan. 20 and is expected to wrap up in April.
Matthew Barron is the sports mentorship co-ordinator with Big Brothers, which aims to find matches between bigs (mentors) and littles (underprivileged children).
The organization prefers mentors who can volunteer throughout the year — once a week for between two and four hours — but has “made a special case for this for some of the volunteers who are only willing to dedicate their time just for the winter season,” Barron said.
The Bluebird Foundation pays for lift tickets, snowboarding gear and transportation to and from Sun Peaks.
Oronge Board Shop also helps out with equipment.
Big Brothers would like to find more matches and send more than eight children up the hill, but mentors need to step forward if that is going to happen.
“Some of the volunteers are willing to hang out during the summer and do it again next season,” Barron said.
“It’s creating a good relationship in that way.”
Mentoring children through athletics, Barron said, is “a great opportunity for a volunteer to spend time with a child who shares a mutual passion for a sport.”
Barron matches bigs and littles in many different sports, not just snowboarding.
To volunteer, call Big Brothers at 250-374-6134 or email Barron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currie has been hanging out with his sidekick, seven-year-old Owen Sutherland, for two years and recommends others give it a try.
“It’s nice to see him growing and getting more excited about the sport,” Currie said.