My two teens are working this winter at the Vorlage ski hill, one as an instructor, and one as a TA.
Quick public service announcement – if you live in the Ottawa area, and you have a 13 or 14 year old who is a high intermediate or advanced skiier or snowboarder, then consider the TA program at Vorlage. I think it’s awesome. Your kid has to pass a two-day ski program (held in December) but pretty much anyone who can make it down the mountain with confidence passes, and then you get:
- free ski pass for the season
- free weekly lessons, so you can continue to improve your skiing
- a paycheck – it’s only about $30 or $40 a week but for my kids, that was a lot
- a discount on passes and classes for all your other family members
- a discount on food in the cafeteria
In return, you have to work one full day every weekend, either Saturday or Sunday. It’s a pretty full day – you’re on from 8:30 to 4, and pretty much all the time you’re either assisting in a class or doing “chair lift duty,” where you just ski all day but take a little kid up with you on the lift each time you go up. Also, if you come up to the hill on any other days – like for casual fun skiing – you’re expected to check in with the office and might be pressed into some kind of duty if needed.
I think it’s a good deal. My kids are getting great experience plus a real paycheck, at a time when finding part-time work for kids of that age is basically limited to paper routes and babysitting. It’s only for about 12 weeks in the winter so they are still free in the summer and it gets our whole family to the ski hill every single weekend, which has done amazing things for helping turn winter into our favourite season.
This year the Captain was old enough to get certified to actually teach, and he did, and he was nervous about it but they hired him right away so he decided to at least try it. This past weekend was his first full day of teaching and he had four different lessons in one day. I have to say, I am so, so proud of him. He worked so hard and put his heart into it. He had funny and cute and adorable stories to tell about all the toddlers he taught all day long. He was outgoing and fun with the kids, which is hard for him as an introvert, but he shone. I could literally see him growing up before my eyes.
Meanwhile, Gal Smiley is in her second year as a TA and also rocking the hill. On Sunday, her first full day of work, I went into the bathroom with Little Miss Sunshine and we happened to run into Gal Smiley, who was taking a little girl of about 4 to the washroom in the middle of her lesson. Gal Smiley was AWESOME – sweet and upbeat and helped the girl on and off with her things, and told her little stories, and chit chatted with her the whole time, and I was just so, so proud of her.
And then by the end of the day, both of them were so exhausted they could hardly drag themselves to the car. But they did! And they did a great job!
As our family gets older, it’s harder to blog about them, for privacy reasons, and also because those little cute compact tales that fit so well with three-year-olds don’t quite mesh with the complexities of the teen years. But I wanted to write this down, because on Sunday I looked at both them and saw truly lovely people being truly kind, honourable, and tough. I’m so, so proud of them both.