School Bulletin: Skiing into new territory

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Skiing can be an expensive and exclusive sport, but a group of Kenosha fourth graders are hitting the slopes with help from a non-profit.

"I feel like we have tapped into something that's really magical," Terri McGuire, a fourth-grade teacher at Brass Community School, says.

McGuire says she was checking her inbox after winter break and noticed an email from SOS Outreach, an organization based in Colorado.

"It was really hard to wrap my brain around what I was being offered," McGuire says.

SOS Outreach proposed five, free weeks of semi-private ski lessons for Brass fourth-grade students. McGuire says it sounded too good to be true but she followed up.

Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, which is about 20 miles west of the school and owned by Vail Resorts, agreed to host Brass. McGuire says the next hurdle was convincing the students to actually go.

"Everybody started making phone calls and contacting parents," McGuire says. "There was some reluctance, some skepticism. Our kids had never really been exposed to anything of this nature before."

McGuire says once families were onboard, a donation came to Brass with coats, snow pants, goggles and everything the kids needed to stay warm and dry while skiing. Now heading into the third consecutive week of lessons, there's a system. Each Monday, McGuire says she and other staff members head up to Wilmot with 30 students, and they are all learning side-by-side.

"Students who may struggle in different ways in the classroom, I've been able to see them really evolve and really become outstanding skiers," McGuire says. "I can't believe that even after two weeks, we have probably 80 percent of our kids that are already getting on the chair lift."

SOS Outreach was started in 1993 and connects kids to the outdoors. The organization's website says giving students the opportunity to try different activities allows children to overcome challenges, improve their mental health and become leaders.

Brass staff say the ski lessons have also been a welcome opportunity to get out of the classroom since most field trips were put on pause during the pandemic. McGuire says she hopes to continue working with SOS Outreach and get more Kenosha students involved.

"It's hard to honestly put into words, what this has felt like that this has come together," McGuire says.

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