Posted by: Shanie Matthews | January 29, 2010

SkiDUCK Bringing the Joy of Skiing and Snowboarding to Needy Children

“There are times in most of our lives when we face some really big questions. The past year has been one of deep reflection for me, and some of the questions I kept asking of myself were:

What is my purpose?

How can I make more of a difference?

How can I better use my passion and skills for a greater good?

If money weren’t an issue, what would I be doing?

…And, rather than focusing on a job or career, how can I turn my passion into a life-long vocation?

These questions and period of self-reflection can be a tremendous opportunity for anyone to discover new directions. In retrospect, I can’t believe the idea of creating SkiDUCK didn’t occur immediately! The concept of a national organization dedicated to providing opportunities for children to experience the joys of skiing and snowboarding is such an obvious and natural fit!”

That’s how it all started for Clint Lunde, the executive director and founder of a newly formed non-profit, SkiDUCK, which stands for Skiing and snowboarding for Disabled and Underprivileged Children and older Kids. Created to search out where the system is lacking, SkiDUCK’s focus is on helping needy children find joy from the mountains through areas that have not been touched by existing organizations.

Lunde explains, “SkiDUCK is a national volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled and underprivileged children by sharing the joys of skiing and snowboarding.

We partner with local organizations with similar goals of serving disabled or underprivileged children. In areas where like programs exist, we work to assist these groups fulfill their goals by providing additional funding, coordinating with other providers, and sharing best-practices.

In areas where the skiing and snowboarding needs of disabled or underprivileged children are not currently being served, we seek to establish a sustainable model of service with local resources and volunteers.”
Once the idea transitioned from a dream into activation, things moved quickly for Lunde and SkiDUCK, “Since August 12th we’ve recruited a high-quality Board of Directors, filed as a legal entity, applied for and received our 501(c)3 non-profit status from the IRS (which alone often takes 9+ months), created a fun and interactive website and social network, partnered with some of the top athletes in the industry (more on the way!), and most importantly… have established initial partnerships with ski resorts and youth service organizations to put children on the slopes for their first time ever!

In early 2010 we’ll begin to see the fruits of our labor as we kick off our first on-slope programs in the Lake Tahoe, California area! The success of those programs and others around the country will depend entirely upon the wonderful volunteers who come forward with their time, enthusiasm and talents – and the generous donors and sponsors who help provide opportunities for deserving children.”

What is needed for the future to help SkiDUCK spread the happiness that comes from playing in glistening, cold snow? Lunde feels that it is multi-focused, “The success of SkiDUCK if based upon the foundation of collaboration among three key groups; participating ski resorts, youth service organizations, and financial sponsors.
SkiDUCK and our volunteers are primarily “facilitators” who are connecting existing organizations to assist each in doing what they do best. Our partnering ski resorts have ski and snowboard schools that are already teaching children the wonderful sports of skiing and snowboarding. SkiDUCK is bringing a whole new group of children to their programs, who may never otherwise have the opportunity to visit the mountains. Our partnering youth service organizations (such as the Boys and Girls Clubs) are already serving financially underprivileged and at-risk children in many ways, but lack the financial resources to provide skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Through these collaborative partnerships, SkiDUCK brings the best of both worlds together!

Finally, collaboration with our growing list sponsors and individual donors is absolutely critical to providing the financial resources to make the programs work. Like a tripod, each of the three legs of the SkiDUCK collaborative model are essential for stability and long-term success.”

All of those working together through SkiDUCK are making a huge difference in the level of happiness in children’s lives. From my own experience, I can truly say that skiing saved my life. It not only helped me have a passion that was stronger than peer pressure, but it was also a mode of creating a healthy self-esteem and appreciation for self.

Lunde hopes that it helps children achieve their highest potential, “As focused as we are on building partnerships and a successful model for SkiDUCK, all of our efforts are really about the kids. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy to launch a new organization, but the rewards of those efforts are immediately received in the smiles, laughter and joy of children learning to ski or snowboard for the first time.

I’ve (we’ve) taught many children to ski over the years, and almost nothing compares to a child’s first day on the slopes or the first time off a small jump! SkiDUCK will open an entirely new world to children who deserve the opportunity that many of us enjoy every winter!

We’re serving school-aged children (from around age 7 to 18). Our hope is that once a child is in the program, they’ll fall in love with skiing or snowboarding and want to continue each year until they graduate from high school.
While our primary focus is a simple one, to introduce children to the joys of skiing and snowboarding, I’m absolutely certain that the impact we’ll have in many children’s lives will be much more significant and long-lasting; even life-changing. The mountains, the sport, and the good people these children will interact with have the ability to change lives in tremendous ways.

And I’m absolutely certain that someday a child who first stepped into bindings through a SkiDUCK program will also step onto an Olympic, World Cup, or X Games Gold medal podium!”

You can help SkiDUCK with just a click of the mouse…

In response to their need for efficient technology, SkiDUCK has entered a contest to win a Windows 7 Desktop. The competition involves a little video they posted on YouTube. Just watch this two minute video and then click on the star rating system below the video on the left hand side. The decision on which organization wins the computer system prize is based on the amount of times the video is viewed, as well as its rating.

On behalf of the kids and SkiDUCK, thank you!



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Responses

  1. COOL! What a great program!!!!
    Lindsey Petersen
    http://5kidswdisabilities.wordpress.com

    • Definitely! Thanks for your comment Lindsey.

  2. […] Bogner Supporting SkiDUCK and Helping Underprivileged Children Stay Warm in the Mountains It’s no secret that one of my passions in life is skiing, so thus it is only natural that a nonprofit that I am 100% in support of is SkiDUCK. […]


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