NIMSEF taking applications for upcoming ski season

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(Courtesy photo) NIMSEF participants take part in the popular local ski and snowboard program that helped 74 kids enjoy the Schweitzer experience last year.

In 8th year, program continues to thrive

SANDPOINT — The North Idaho Mountain Sports Education Fund is returning for another year, recently announcing it is now accepting applications for the upcoming ski season. Applications can be found at www.nimsef.com.

NIMSEF is dedicated to helping local children get the Schweitzer Experience, believing all children should have the opportunity to ski and snowboard at Schweitzer.

Last year the group sponsored 74 kids, and are hoping to increase the number this year. Last year in a different program they also helped two vets, and are hoping to increase the number this year, and helped three adaptive skiers, including one with Cerebral palsy and another with Down syndrome.

NIMSEF is a nonprofit organization and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who receives zero compensation. Expenses are minimal, allowing the majority of donations to directly benefit the children NIMSEF sponsors.

People come from all over to enjoy North Idaho’s world-class outdoor activities. However, while tourists and those involved in the local ski industry clearly understand the joy that snow sports offer, many area youth never experience the joy and freedom the slopes provide. Skiing and snowboarding is simply too expensive for many North Idaho families.

The NIMSEF program not only teaches skiing/snowboarding, but engages the children, allowing them to work for a portion of their tuition and participate in fundraising. NIMSEF believes this will help the children value their gift, build their work ethic and learn to give back to others.

“Some of those kids tug at your heart. Kids from a homeless shelter. Some don’t have much going for them. This is the highlight of their whole week,” said President Jeff Rouleau, who started the program eight years ago. “At the beginning, they’re quiet, to themselves, and at the end they’re talking and laughing. I think it really does help them.”

Schweitzer has graciously agreed to work with NIMSEF and set up a program — at greatly reduced tuition — that will enroll our scholarship students in an eight week, all-day lessons program. All children ages 7-17 years-old who qualify based on economic need and live in Bonner and Boundary counties can receive a season pass, bus pass and equipment rental and the lesson program via Schweitzer and NIMSEF.

“Schweitzer is really good at working with us to put something together,” said Rouleau. “Make sure everyone gets an opportunity.”

The program, created by Schweitzer, puts the children in groups of similar age and ability, and the group stays with the same coach for the entire program (all coaches are certified instructors). This all-day program takes place on either Saturday or Sunday, but the pass and equipment rental are valid all season.

Any donations the public wishes to give to this worthy cause are greatly appreciated and will help North Idaho children realize the dream of being a part of something special.

If you have any questions or would like to get involved in the program as a corporate partner, contact Jeff Rouleau at nimsef@gmail.com.

For more information, visit www.nimsef.com.

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