9th February 2022 | Justine Gosling, Crans Montana
Last modified on February 14th, 2022
‘Snow Camp charity changed the course of my life’. The words of a Elisha Davenport, a young woman who would never have had the chance to experience snowsports without Snow Camp. PlanetSKI met up with her at the charity’s main fundraising event out in the mountains.
The charity Snow-Camp offers disadvantaged youth aged between 13 and 25 the opportunity to participate in snowsports, complete courses, and it provides mental health support to those who need it.
The charity ran a fund raising event in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, last weekend: The AJ Bell Crans-Montana Marathon 2022.
It challenged teams to complete a series of wintersports activities in an two action packed days, whilst raising funds for Snow-Camp.
- Ski orienteering.
- Laser biathlon.
- Parallel slalom racing.
- A team distance challenge.
- Snow-shoe relay.
Teams compete for two awards, Top Fundraisers and Overall Winners.
It’s all about strategy, teamwork, fun and raising money for a good cause.
In this year’s event, 60 participants in 14 teams competed in 5 events and raise raised over £50,000, with more promised.
The overall winners were team Delanski, from the property company Delancey.
To see how this money helps the work of Snow-Camp, PlanetSKI met one of the charity’s graduates, Elisha Davenport, at the event.
The 20-year-old from Liverpool feels her involvement with Snow-Camp changed the course of her life.
Elisha, who works at McDonald’s, told me how she got into the wrong crowd at school and failed her GCSEs.
Her life was going down the wrong track until she was invited to a ski lesson with Snow-Camp at her youth club.
She hated skiing at first, and fell over a lot, but was determined to improve.
She soon fell in love with the sport and gained a community of friends.
Elisha first got to experience the majesty of the Alps and natural snow on a Snow-Camp trip to Montgenèvre in France.
“The 27-hour long coach journey was worth it, I’ve never seen anything so beautiful as the Alps,” she told me.
During the Covid lockdowns and with the devastating loss of her grandparents, Elisha’s mood went to a very dark place.
She credits the charity’s professional counsellors for getting her through and giving her tools to manage her anxiety and low mood.
“I don’t know where I’d be without them,” she told me.
Her involvement with Snow-Camp has raised her confidence significantly and introduced her to lifelong friends.
Elisha took part in the event in Crans Montana.
She spoke about her mental health struggles and experiences with Snow-Camp at the event’s forum.
“After stepping off the stage I felt like royalty with everyone coming up to me saying ‘well done’ and how inspiring I was.”
Of the race, Elisha says “I was so nervous, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“I’m so proud I finished and was very emotional at the end with everyone cheering me on, and thinking about how proud my grandparents would be of me.
“I’m not a confident person and put myself down a lot, but that weekend really lifted me up, and it was so reassuring to see even the really good skiers fall!”
It is nearly 4 years since she connected with Snow-Camp and Elisha is soon to take her ski instructor course.
She volunteers to support the charity’s new recruits at the Manchester Snow Dome and has completed her level 2 counsellor course to support others with anxiety and mental health challenges.
“It’s been the best experience of my life so far,” Elisha says.
“Without it I’d probably be on medication for my mental health and I wouldn’t have met some of the most important people in my life.
“I’m more open hearted and minded due to Snow-Camp.”
As to her future, her experiences with Snow-Camp have helped influence her decision to pursue a career supporting people with disabilities with their mental health.
Visit the Snow Camp website to find out more about the work of the charity.