Tannersville, Pa. (January 20, 2014) – Camelback Mountain Resort in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania has partnered with two great organizations, SkiDuck and PEAK Program, during their 50th Anniversary Season – deemed a season of giving back.
SkiDUCK (Skiing and Snowboarding for Disadvantaged and Underprivileged Children and older Kids) is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of financially disadvantaged and underprivileged children by sharing the joys of skiing and snowboarding. This winter season, students from the I-Lead Charter School of Reading, PA will be provided three days on the slopes of Camelback to experience skiing or snowboarding. Through Camelback’s Learn To Ski & Snowboard program the students will build positive relationships with peers and volunteers and develop a new sense of self-confidence and esteem through this program.
Tony Keller, Director of SnowSports School at Camelback started skiing at the age of 12 with a group, similar to the SkiDUCK in Florida where he was raised. He grew up with his brother and single mother, who worked hard to give the boys any opportunities available to enrich their lives. Keller, being the curious teen that he was, heard kids playing through the woods in his back yard one day and had to find out what was going on. He ran through the woods toward the kids’ laughing to find a group playing “parking lot hockey” in a church parking lot. He stood and watched them hoping they would ask him to join in. His great smile caught their attention and they invited him over to join the game. After the game, they invited him into the church for their youth group meeting.
Keller went on his first ski trip to North Carolina with the church youth group and fell in love with snow sports. He continued with the skiing with the youth group and in 1999 he relocated to the Pocono Mountains to start his work in the snow sports industry. A few days after arriving in the Pocono Mountains, he was hired at Camelback and today manages 250 of the resort’s ski and snowboard instructors.
This is the fourth season for the Camelback/SkiDUCK partnership. With the support of Camelback and other participating resorts across the country, SkiDUCK will host 1,000 disadvantaged youth (ages 7-18) at over 50 events this season, totaling over 2,000 ski and snowboard visits. SkiDUCK partners with Boys and Girls clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other at-risk youth programs.
Camelback will also host a seven day Learn to Ski & Snowboard clinic for Brooklyn-based, PEAK (Pathways to Excellence, Achievement and Knowledge) Program. Part of The NY Children’s Aid Society’s Youth Justice Programs, PEAK’s core function is to increase positive outcomes for adolescents who are on probation as well as at-risk youth. PEAK combines educational enrichment, behavior modification and therapeutic services to support youth while in an extended day school based program to help youth re-integrate successfully into their families and communities. Many of the attendees had never been outside of NYC… all had never clicked into skis or strapped on a snowboard until coming to Camelback Mountain Resort.
“These opportunities give may give a child a career path, or just give them a chance to learn something new and build their confidence. The expressions on the faces of these students are amazing and it’s easy to see how quickly barriers are broken down,” states Brian Czarnecki, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Camelback Mountain Resort. “There is no doubt that ski & snowboard programs such as SkiDUCK and PEAK Program can change a child’s path in life.”
About Camelback Mountain Resort
This ski season marks the 50th anniversary for Camelback Mountain Resort in the Pocono Mountains. In 1963 Camelback Mountain Resort opened in the Pocono Mountains with 14 trails and three lifts serving 41,656 skiers. Today Camelback serves nearly 1,000,000 outdoor enthusiasts and visitors annually with 34 trails, 16 lifts, 100% snowmaking, the largest snowtubing park in the U.S.A., CBK Mountain Adventures (featuring the only mountain coaster in Pa, and the longest tandem Zip-Flyer in North America) and Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark (the largest waterpark in Pa). In early February, 2015 the all new 453-suite Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark will open, featuring the largest indoor adventure waterpark in the Northeastern U.S., making Camelback Mountain Resort the most interactive resort in the U.S.A. For more information visit skicamelback.com.