Thursday, February 28, 2013

Service-Learning and the Adrenaline Rush of Skiing

There is a mountain in the Wasatch Range, where I feel more alive than any place on earth. It is the 11,000 foot peak where my parents began their life together. My mother was a part-time ski instructor at Alta Ski Resort, and Dad's friends convinced him to fly his little airplane from his home in Palo Alto, California to meet this athletic and beautiful woman on the hill. Dad wasn't much a skier until he saw Mom in action, but how quickly he caught on! And he eventually surpassed her, as they married and soon had toddlers learning to ski. Dad discovered a new adrenaline high with heli-skiing in the Canadian Bugaboo Range. He and his "maverick" buddies at Fairchild would take off for ski adventures, and then take their families to Tahoe in between. As we grew up, my parents took us skiing for pretty much every winter vacation and many weekends--Squaw Valley, Snowbird/Alta, and Sun Valley were our favorites. There is nothing quite like the rush you get from sliding as fast as your body can go, arcing these days on shape skis just like an Olympic racer. As a part-time ski coach myself, I taught many people to love off-piste, powder, chutes, and bumps. Take me to the Wasatch! Except, when I think about the reality of retiring on a part-time income, and how some of my friends back at Snowbird are now facing that fact. 

Everyone needs to have a "Plan B," right? That's what former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Bono said when he visited with my students at Paly a few years ago. And now I realize I'm living my very own Plan B--right here in Palo Alto, where my Daddy started his career more than fifty years ago. This life has come full circle. And how does the daughter of an adrenaline junkie get her fix? By creating something new, that was never there before. I have discovered something really just as exciting as a ski trip to the Bugaboos: hundreds of "Paly" students each year pursuing their passions and interests to make a difference in the world. How can it be? See for yourself. Check out my Snowbird friend Dean Cummings' most incredible heli-skiing video from Valdez, Alaska. THEN, download this year's most amazing Get Involved, Paly resource for community service. Dozens of student reflections on service-learning in high school. If you are not equally impressed by this exciting, adrenaline-packed guidebook of our students' adventures in service, then I owe you a ski lesson. I'll see you at Alta!

No comments: