YOSEMITE – Mountain Area Ski School (MASS) is looking for ski and snowboard instructors and support people to help out this season, which begins Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.
Dating back to 1961, MASS annually serves hundreds of area children in 5th through 8th grades. Certified volunteer instructors teach downhill, cross-country and snowboarding to eligible students who are bussed to Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park every Friday from January to March, approximately 12 weeks.
No prior teaching experience is necessary, say organizers, since MASS offers instructor training for qualified applicants.
“Not an expert skier or snowboarder? Not a problem, you only need to be better than the level you are instructing,” say Calvin Lyster, who has been involved with the program for 38 years. “This is a wonderful opportunity, not only to be involved with the community, but there are other benefits.”
For every Friday that an instructor volunteers with MASS, he or she will receive a free lift ticket to use at Badger Pass within the same week. “A commitment must be made to teach every Friday starting January 10, 2014 until the end of March, weather and snow permitting.”
An instructor clinic is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 20 at Badger Pass starting at 9 a.m. for those who have completed applications to volunteer. “Great skiing or snowboarding ability is not required, because many of our kids have either never been on skis or boards before, or are just getting started in the sport. If you are a responsible adult, and can be available at least nine of approximately twelve Fridays during the season, we can use your help. We will teach you how to teach them.”
The first organizational meeting of the pre-season was held on Friday, Dec. 6. It’s not too late to get involved, as applications are available online. There is no charge to instructors for insurance or the cost of fingerprinting, which is required. Those fees are taken care of by MASS.
Lyster, sometimes known as Cedar Valley Cal, says the value of volunteers for MASS cannot be overestimated. “Without instructors, there is no skiing.” Organizers agree the program is vital to kids growing up in the mountains. “For many, this will be their only opportunity to experience skiing or snowboarding. In the age of cable TV, hi-speed internet, cell phones and video games, the benefits of exposing children to wholesome outdoor activities cannot be overstated.”
MASS is also looking for volunteers to chaperone on the school bus, and help with passing out and returning ski equipment. “While the kids ski, you can relax on the deck and enjoy the sunshine we usually have in the spring. Take a snowshoe tour, visit with old friends and make new ones!”
For more information contact MASS coordinators Calvin Lyster at (559) 683-5186 or Matthew Casey at (559) 658-8794.