Mary Hodorowicz is a long-time Chill champion and program volunteer as well as one of the newest members of our Board of Directors. The following is her reflection on her experience after recently attending a day of an Explore program.
During Chill Core snow programs – our typical six-week program format – each week is paired with one of six core values: respect, courage, patience, persistence, responsibility, and pride. A bit earlier this month (before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US) our DC/Baltimore Chill site implemented a one-day Explore program, and I was able to attend. As with all Chill programs, the six core values were on full display all day, but I began to notice the presence of another core value that day – a value that’s unofficial but always present in Chill: gratitude.
Gratitude was observed and tangibly felt that day, and a feeling of gratitude remains in my heart and head as I reflect on that day. I witnessed gratitude expressed by the youth for the opportunity to participate in Chill, and for being gifted their own boards and complete set of gear; gratitude expressed by the youth not only through their words of appreciation but through tears, smiles, handshakes, fist bumps, hugs, and complete speechlessness; gratitude shared by the host mountain staff for each other and for Chill; gratitude displayed among the volunteers for the lessons learned with the youth and for the friendships that have developed from time spent on and off the mountain; gratitude conveyed by the agency leads who acknowledge the impact Chill has on their youth, and who recognize how the gift of gear to these youth is not just about the material things or the retail value, but the priceless opportunities it opens up for them in the future; and gratitude for the founders of Chill, whose dedication and determination have created a legacy of opportunity for youth via boardsports.
I watched as one youth affixed a Jake sticker to his board, right below a freshly applied Chill sticker. The youth was absolutely radiating gratitude, and so was I – grateful for the gifts that this program gives all of us. Thanks Chill, for being such an amazing part of my life and the lives of everyone involved.