Snow-Camp are the UK's only charity using a unique combination of skiing, snowboarding, education, life-skills training and vocational opportunities to support and empower inner-city young people.
The charity was founded by Dan Charlish in 2003, whilst working for a community development project in Stockwell, South London. Recognising the potential of using snowsports and the mountain environment to challenge and support the young people he was working with; he knew that just a few days on the slopes could act as a catalyst for positive personal growth. In 2003, Dan secured funding to take the first 13 young people on a weeklong programme to France. Since that life-changing week in 2003, Dan and a passionate and skilled team have driven the charity forward to support more than 11,000 young people to date.
They are passionate about continuing to deliver an alternative approach to engage young people by providing an energising environment, now utilising indoor snowdomes in the UK, in order for them to gain qualifications, build relationships and go onto find employment. During a year-long programme journey young people will go from never having experienced skiing or snowboarding to becoming qualified Snowsports England or Scotland Level 1 instructors.
“All the experiences I have gained from Snow-Camp have changed me as a person. The skills I have learnt I use all the time in my life outside of snowboarding and Snow-Camp. The main characteristics that I now possess because of Snow-Camp are ambition and determination.”
Ava, Snow-Camp young person
Once a young person has achieved their instructor qualification, they can continue being part of our Programmes as Youth Volunteers. This means that they can come and teach, inspire and mentor the new young people beginning their Snow-Camp journey, further developing their own teaching skills and acting as brilliant role models both on and off the slopes.
“Snow-Camp has allowed me to see the bigger picture in life and realise that I can achieve anything and there are going to be obstacles but with perseverance and the right mind-set anything is possible.”
Fola, Snow-Camp Youth Forum Member
All Snow-Camp programmes are delivered by Snow-Camp staff and young people working with the charity as youth apprentices and volunteers. Last year, HRH Princess Anne awarded Snow-Camp with a Princess Royal Training Award for their apprenticeship and volunteering programmes.
“I feel that during my time with Snow-Camp I have adopted a second family and have made friendships I will keep forever. At Snow-Camp I learnt more about myself than I had in my whole lifetime, I’ve learnt how to overcome new challenges and how to overcome fears”
Shayleigh, former Snow-Camp Apprentice and Youth Trustee, now Snow-Camp London Assistant Programme Manager
In 2018 Snow-Camp launched Uplift, a mental health programme to run alongside their core snowsports programmes. Young people take part in group workshops focusing on exploring emotions, the role of good communication and healthy relationships, coping mechanisms, self-esteem and the impact of social media. They also have access to specialised 1-1 counselling sessions.
Uplift is delivered by BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) registered Kevin Hempstead Counselling and his dedicated team. During the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic these services have proved to be a vital resource for the young people on Snow-Camp programmes.
“I’ve found being part of Uplift has been so helpful in my everyday life, as it has given me the confidence to overcome barriers. Personally, since starting Uplift I feel like I’m not on my own anymore. There are many other young people in a situation like mine that go through it alone. Thanks to Uplift I feel like I’m back in control of my health and because of this I’m now back in control of my life, which is a great feeling.” – Shannon Pink-Murphy, Snow-Camp Youth Forum member and Uplift Ambassador.
In 2019, 93% of the young people who completed Snow-Camp programmes moved on to either employment, education or further training. 92% gained 1 or more new qualifications and 87% said that they now feel more confident and able to take on new challenges.To learn more about Snow-Camp please visit www.snow-camp.org.uk