I would like for them to learn naturally, effortlessly, almost without knowing it, that the love of beautiful, things, critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Are the three essential virtues. This way they will learn things for themselves, this way they will be real men. As there used to be. They won’t be fooled by intellectual snobs and political scoundrels. They will know how to live and outside of a century which is only getting deeper into infamy, lies, and stupidity

Jacques Monod August 5 1939
Again writing from plane, this time departing for home.

Eight great kids,  mostly new to ski jumping anywhere from 2 1/2 months to three years of jumping.  Jeanne, coach Natasha, and myself as guidance and directors.  4 kids had one parent along and two brothers had both parents.  But parents were generally not allowed with us as we travel as a team.  Parents stayed with friends or motels saying hello and watching during the day at the hill.  We wanted a team spirit and comeraderie.

The western region Alaska crew 2017


Interesting to watch interactions of parents and kids; which are as varied as there are personalities.  But this age group (10-13 years) is starting to step out into the world on their own, and parents are letting go or not.  It is the age of exploration and excitement at discovering the world.  Hopefully this is  not limited to this age group and exploration and excitement continues through life, but I have seen it this week, being immersed in this age group.  Activity is near constant and not focused but it can be directed with channeling.

Learning experiences and encouragement, wow.  For example we had set a quiet time of 9 pm and lights out by 10 o’clock.  Mostly followed, but Thursday was a rest day of only xc skiing, jumping practice, a 4 hour trip to hot springs (with climbing wall, water slides (requiring of me, more than 15 slides to find a winner)). Thus Thursday night folks were not quite ready to wind down.  But the jumping competition  is on Friday.  Natasha reminded me this is part of the learning curve, they cannot always be told something, they must learn it themselves.    OK, I went into  one of two boys rooms and two are standing on the bed saying “we are getting ready for bed”. I reminded them it is now 10:15 and it is a competition night.  Yeah, yeah, yeah. As I was going up the stairs to next boys room the two previous run past me. (I guess they assumed I cannot see). 10 minutes later I go into girls room to find all eight watching a movie on the computer. Competition night!  Whatever, we were all up at 7.

Alaska Crew with parents


Top of 45 meter jump competition


And teaching them of altitude (Steamboat is at 1950 meters, 6400 feet ), I told them to notice the stairs here versus the stairs at home.  One kiddo as we climbed the stairs said he was not noticing the altitude, but he admitted the stairs were harder.

As for the competition we are a new program just getting going again.  I had not necessarily expected great results and kept reminding the kids it was how they did, not how others did.  On the first day one kid noticed kids from Calgary and park city.  Our kids response (some of them) was “they are going to cream us”. I again reminded them it was not how well Calgary or park city or Illinois or steamboat springs clubs do, it is how well one does oneself.

Alaska medal winners jumping and nordic combined      (the 4 without actual neck jewelry are not included)

That night in the competition we won, we lost, we got scared, we cheered, we beat our own records, we fell, we crashed, we got up, And the tears flowed.  Some from beating personal goals, some from not achieving them.  Tears from all myself included.  Parents, helpers, watchers, and the kids, all requiring varying degrees and varieties of answers.  (OK I admit I get choked up when I see whoever, whatever doing their absolute best) Breaks ones heart when a 10 year old is bawling their eyes out because they did not do their absolute best and felt they could do better.
Basically the adventure of kids.  A real adventure.  But will shortly tag the parents and say “tag you are it, your turn”

And I mentioned in last blog how they were excited about seeing cows, well they also saw for many, their first candy store.  (Sorry parents, had to give them the experience of new experiences, kids choice). But it goes both ways.  One morning tuned the radio to a modern station and all the kids were singing along to Beyoncé whom I had to ask who the artist was.  Even us oldersters can still learn.

And great to see how other programs work.  And one comment by the director of the steamboat club was he does not care about making olympians (and their have been numerous from the area) but he cares about making good citizens.


It was a great week of which I thoroughly enjoyed it and am thoroughly exhausted.  For those without kids it is far harder than it looks and  can be extremely rewarding.  I am quite happy with loaner kids.  My hat is off to parents.  Hopefully I had a bit of good influence and they learned a few things (like candy is not necessarily the best thing)

Top of 30 meter jump (photo by Jessie Ann Menkens)
75 meter jumper competion (jumper landed at 52.5 meters

2 thoughts on “Delightful

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