The award was presented at the conclusion of the FIS Congress on Friday, 4th June, after the eight finalists were showcased during the week, providing the more than 1,000 delegates from 74 nations with a chance to learn more from the best practices of these award-winning programs.
The eight finalists were selected by a panel including Satu Kalajainen of Finland, representing the FIS Youth and Children’s’ Coordination Group; Essar Gabriel of France, head of the IOC Youth Olympic Games; and Swiss Riet R. Campell, President of the International Ski Instructors’ Association. The FIS Council made the final decision on the top three.
"The more I learned about these projects in all the nations I felt proud – extremely proud," said Kalajainen, one of the judges and member of the FIS Youth and Children's Coordination Group. "Each of you have every reason to be proud of what is going on with youth and children in your countries."
"This is the first time we have awarded this special prize and we will, of course, continue," said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. "You know, it's not always a question of money - it's a question of what you can do in your nation for the kids, and that doesn't always cost a lot to bring them to the snow."
« I was amazed by the wide range of different projects, which shows that the National Ski Associations have a lot of initiatives. It was an honor to be part of the FIS SnowKidz Awards Jury and I congratulate the winning candidate and all participants for their valuable contribution,” said Essar Gabriel.
The top prize went to Norway with its innovative Barnas Skiklubb (kids ski club) program while the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association club with its Maine-based "Healthy Hometowns" program was honored with second place. Germany’s Snow Child‘s Play project was recognized as the third of the top three FIS SnowKidz programs in the world.
"It was really inspiring to see all the different projects," said Maine Winter Sports Center Vice President and Program Director Eilleen Carey. "It allows people to share ideas. The Norwegian project is a cool program with an interactive web site that engages kids around the country to get into skisport – I got a lot of ideas from it. We want to catapult the next generation into leading healthier lifestyles and we're doing that," Carey added.
FIS SnowKidz Award Finalists
1. Barnas Skiklubb, Norway
2. Maine Winter Sports Center, Healthy Hometowns Program, USA
3. Snow Child‘s Play – moving country, Germany
4. Suusabuss (Skibus), Estonia
5. Snow Day, Hungary
6. Skilly Day, Italy
7. Teach the Teachers to Ski, Finland
8. Naltar Ski School, Pakistan
Stay tuned for more information on the FIS SnowKidz on the campaign website at www.fis-snowkidz.com and on the Youth & Children seminar in the next newsletter! Feel free to forward this to your colleagues who you think would be interested. For any comments or questions or if you are interested in having the FIS SnowKidz visit your event next season, please do not hesitate to contact us on email@example.com.