This is Rotary, by Jason Keerak
For this column I would like to introduce readers to a group of Rotarians that promote skiing as an opportunity for fellowship and public service. This group, the International Skiing Fellowship of Rotarians (ISFR), has been hosting annual skiing events worldwide since 1974. The first few gatherings were in Vail, Colorado, and since then they have been to many different ski hills all over North America including Whistler, Banff, and Fernie. And guess what? From January 28 to February 4, 2012 this group will be bringing their passion for skiing and public service to Revelstoke!
But what does this mean for our little resort town?
Well, we are not talking about hundreds of people on these trips; typically they involve from 110 to 140 people. But the energy and passion for leaving behind a legacy of public service is a very strong commitment for this group! Myself, Revelstoke Mountain Resort marketing director Ashley Tait and Revelstoke mayor and fellow Rotarian David Raven were able to attend a few days of this years’ ISFR event in Aspen, Colorado. In Aspen we learned about how these events work. We had two opportunities to formally present our city to the group to show them just how much of a great place this is! We were also able to see first hand this groups’ dedication to service at the ski resorts that they visit.
Aside from the skiing, fellowship, and home-hosting events with local Rotarians, the ISFR team’s wish is to establish, or bolster, an adaptive ski program for challenged athletes at every ski hill they visit. Money is raised to do this through sponsorships, challenges, and other fund-raising events throughout the week. Currently, as a very new ski resort, Revelstoke does not yet have an adaptive ski program. The ISFR event in Revelstoke next year will allow for the seed money to get a program like this started. The first step in a program such as this is to ‘train the trainers.’ After this gets underway, specialized equipment (such as a sit ski) is necessary and then ongoing growth and maintenance of the program becomes critical.
During the ISFR week, not only are funds raised for the local hill’s adaptive ski program, but money is also put into a growth account within a foundation to allow for on-going funding and awareness of adaptive ski programs around the world. The dedication of this international group of Rotarians has allowed so many people with varying challenges to traditional skiing to enjoy the fun and freedom of this great outdoor sport!
The International Skiing Fellowship of Rotarians – a small group making a big impact to people around the world.
Jason Keerak is the Public Relations Director for the Revelstoke Rotary Club. He contributes his column This is Rotary to the Revelstoke Times Review on a periodical basis.