PAA Celebrates Successful Ski Program

May 01, 2012 | Liesl Vistaunet

Portland (Ore.) Adventist Academy (PAA) successfully reintroduced an optional skiing and snowboarding program aimed at encouraging friendship and physical activity among students less interested in team sports.

"We met our goals, and it was a success," says Les Zollbrecht, program leader and PAA teacher. Zollbrecht, along with several other teachers, hoped to reach out to the students less likely to join a team sport and offer them similar benefits in a different venue. Teachers wanted to give students the opportunity to get fresh air and exercise, to challenge them physically, and to build lasting friendships.

Every Wednesday in February, PAA students joined those from other area Adventist schools, along with their parents and many teachers, at Oregon's Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort. "It's a great thing to be up on a mountain with almost 200 other Adventists," says Zollbrecht. "It builds community and friendship in a fun and healthy way."

Adrian Lin is a good example of the program's success. Lin, who grew up in China, is attending PAA this year to learn English. He says the only sport he's ever played is a game of pool. But after a two-hour lesson, he was on the slopes and feeling proud of his new accomplishment. For Lin, joining the ski club also meant making several new American friends.

"It's so neat to see these kids coming home on the bus, enjoying friendships they likely wouldn't have made without this program," says Zollbrecht. "And the best part is that no one lost and everyone is feeling good ..."