Patty cake, patty cake may be just what’s needed. The game in which you clap your own and your partner’s hands requires eye contact or at least eyes on your partner’s hands. On the ski hill, keeping the game going by skiing backwards to face your student means the student needs to look up enough to see your hands. Looking up means looking forward and not looking down at the ground, which is helpful when going down a hill. That’s how a round of patty cake helped a little girl ski all the way to the bottom of the hill, which is why she raised her arms in victory like she won Olympic gold.
You need to think outside the box teaching kids. And with these kids, as it should be with all kids, the focus is on ability: the ability to move freely, learn, accomplish, participate, make friends, and do what other kids do. Having the opportunity to shine and be a part of something, not sit on the sidelines or watch out the window.
Every Track 3 volunteer says the same thing: once you start, it’s hard to walk away. I can see that. To quote Amy Bloom, “In the right hands, everything that you give, you get.” Patty cake and victory signs sound pretty good to me.
*On-hill training begins in January. Instructor to student ratio is 1:1 or 2:1 and teaching methods are based on CSIA and CASI. Volunteers always needed. Contact Ontario Track 3 Ski Association for the Disabled.
What I learned: this is serious business and these people are at the top of their game. Elite athletes, physicians, early childhood educators, motivational speakers – all skiers, all passionate about what they do and all happily spending time learning how to do it better. Lectures ranged from Sarah Pilskalnietis’ “Inclusive Teaching for Children with Autism” to John Gillies’ “How Brain Science Helps Define our Approaches to Learning and Performing” to Warren Jobbitt’s “Motivation and Mentorship“.
Jobbitt is currently the Head Coach for Interski 2015 in Argentina and his lecture focused on purpose, the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’. Inspired by author Simon Sinek and his views on inspirational leadership, he spoke of following your passion and harnessing that energy to drive something bigger than yourself. Then he played a video for us. This kind of video always grabs me, because I’m a traveller and a dreamer and an adventurer. When you’re sitting with folks who live the ‘why’ every day, you realize sometimes life is even better than what you see in the movies.