Clubhouse Chronicles: Strongest Together, Regardless of Circumstances
This article was originally published in the Aspen Times as part of our Clubhouse Chronicles column.
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a whirlwind for all of us thus far, full of changes, adaptations and reflection. We’ve adjusted to making ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B,’ and often ended up opting for ‘Plan C.’
At Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, we are incredibly grateful to have been able to run summer programs as well as strength and conditioning for our year-round athletes. Kids are making strides toward their goals, enjoying the company of teammates and coaches from a distance, and exploring our incredible surroundings.
AVSC also just enthusiastically opened registration for our competitive programs for winter 2020-2021 at the beginning of the month. There is no doubt that this season brings more ambiguity than those of the past. While we are working toward all the same goals, we are prepared to be flexible and creative along the way. Although things may feel uncertain, there are a few things that are absolute to us at Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club: our belief in our programs, in our community, and in the value that both provide to the youth of the Roaring Fork Valley. We believe deeply in chasing passions, developing grit and being a part of this exceptional mountain culture.
Do we have all the answers as to what exactly that will look like this winter? No. Do we know how many kids can pile around a picnic table for lunch after successfully learning how to ride the chairlift? No. Do we have the luxury of designing exact schedules, knowing exactly how many times our athletes will stand at the start of a competition, knowing exactly when and where we will travel or even if we will be able to travel? No. Do we know how our sports’ governing bodies will structure the season for all levels of skiing and snowboarding? No.
But what we do know, and what we can control, is that we will do the best that we can under the circumstances and ensure the value provided — the experiences had, relationships built, lessons learned and character developed — will be up to the same standards. There is not a single person that is unaffected by COVID-19. It’s up to us to make the most of the situation and optimize for growth and success for the children in the valley.
Moreover, we will continue to commit to providing these opportunities to as many young athletes in the Roaring Fork Valley as we can. We awarded over $1.8 million in scholarships and subsidies last year to give 2,400 local youth the opportunity to participate. The positive impacts of sports regarding kids’ mental, socio-emotional and physical health are well documented. Our commitment to local youth has a lasting impact on both their lives and our community. Our data indicates that if we lose a child for one season, we lose them for life. Given the economic impact of COVID-19, we expect an increase in need this year and will do everything we can to meet that increase. We believe that we are strongest together.
AVSC’s core values are commitment, teamwork and integrity. This year will be a good time for our athletes to put them to the test. They will have to ask themselves, and each other: How much do we want it? How supportive of our peers are we when things get tough? Who are we when no one is watching?
No matter what 2020 will bring, we are excited to provide meaningful opportunities for local youth to become — as our mission states — not only great athletes, but great kids.