CONWAY – In a unique partnership between ski town hospital and ski area, North Conway's Memorial Hospital and Cranmore Mountain Resort are once again joining forces to ensure every child that wants a ski helmet gets one, regardless of their family's ability to pay. It's all part of a helmet safety initiative to ensure that local school children have appropriate helmets for their participation in the Eastern Slope Ski Club’s (ESSC) Junior Ski Program.
Cranmore Mountain Resort donated hundreds of free and discounted helmets through the program to students in eight elementary schools, and Bob & Terry’s Sports Outlet is making additional helmets available.
“We are so pleased that Cranmore has once again stepped up to donate these helmets to the children in our community,” said Kathy Bennett, the hospital’s Vice President of Community Relations. “This is an incredibly generous act on their part. They are making sure all kids will have the helmets they need to participate in the ESSC program.”
Cranmore Snowsports Director Karen Dolan shared that the schools require students who participate in the junior ski program to wear helmets. “That’s another reason why Cranmore is so happy to be able to donate the helmets for the hospital program.”
The National Ski Areas Association “Lids on Kids” organization is working hard to get out the message that helmets can significantly reduce head injuries. The group reports that wearing helmets can decrease the risk of head injury by 20 to 50 percent. It can also mean the difference between a major head injury and a minor head injury, or between a minor head injury and no injury at all.
Schools participating in the Safe Skier Initiative include Bartlett Elementary, K.A. Brett School in Tamworth, Conway Elementary, Freedom Elementary, Jackson Grammar School, John Fuller, Madison Elementary and Pine Tree School. To qualify for a free helmet, students must be enrolled in the school’s free/reduced rate meals program while others have the opportunity to purchase helmets at a significant discount.
Many families face difficult financial situations at home which can make it hard for them to find the funds for equipment. As families struggle to pay for basic necessities, things like skiing equipment may not be a part of their budget. That's what makes this program so important for students who may not be able to afford it on their own. Helmets were distributed to schools starting in early December, just in time for the winter skiing and boarding season.
To help ensure the future of the program, the Memorial Hospital Foundation created the Roger C. Clapp Memorial Ski Helmet Fund. Clapp, who passed away in 2013, was a hospital trustee for many years and a passionate lifelong skier. Family and friends made memorial donations to the fund and continue to encourage contributions to it. Special thanks this year go to Memorial Hospital's retiring Board of Trustee member Phil Davies, who served alongside Roger Clapp for many years and this year donated the majority of funds necessary to support the program in 2016.
Others are welcome to donate to the fund and may find more information at www.memorialhospitalnh.org/foundation.