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WINTERKIDS. MOVE. LEARN. EXPLORE.
WinterKids helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity. We create opportunities for children to be active, vibrant and healthy in the outdoors.
WinterKids is the only nonprofit in Maine and New Hampshire dedicated exclusively to increasing outdoor physical activity in children and families during our longest, most sedentary season. The shorter, darker, and colder days of winter and the increasing allure of screen time make it all too easy for kids and families to “hibernate.” At WinterKids, we make it our business to provide kids, parents, and teachers with the right option: to get outside, get active, and have fun in the winter – and year-round.
WinterKids began in 1997 as part of the Ski Maine Association with a Learn to Ski program for fifth graders. With the increasing rates of childhood obesity and the downward trend in physical fitness in Maine and across the country, there was an opportunity to help children and families enjoy healthy and fun outdoor winter lifestyles while nurturing a connection to the natural environment – at home, at school, and in the communities in which they live. In 2000, WinterKids became an independent non-profit and continued to develop and expand innovative health education programs for kids in the winter.
Our school programs target high need, rural areas with the least access to resources (WinterKids Challenge, WinterKids Guide to Outdoor Active Learning, WinterKids Winter Games). Our family programs target high demand areas in close proximity to winter sports areas (WinterKids Passport, WinterKids FunPass, WinterKids Family Days). Our community events target high population areas with the greatest opportunity for broad messaging and impact on local outdoor activity (WinterKids Welcome to Winter, WinterKids Downhill 24).
WINTERKIDS IS KID-CENTERED.WinterKids created opportunities for 23,000 kids to get outside and active with their families this winter in all 16 counties of Maine and in 4 NH counties, with innovative, outdoor education programs.
WINTERKIDS IS BUILDING A LEGACY.
For 20 years, the Passport has introduced fifth, sixth and seventh graders to outdoor winter fun in Maine. Since 1997, WinterKids has introduced over 75,000 Maine kids to winter sports. We are building on that success by piloting a new phone app that will help to get the whole family outside together more often in the winter at over 55 winter sports areas in Maine and New Hampshire. The Native app will roll out in 2018, available to all Maine and New Hampshire families. This year, we introduced three w New Hampshire partners in the Passport: Wildcat/Attitash in Pinkham Notch, Strawbery Banke Ice Rink in Portsmouth, and High Meadows Horseback and Trail Riding in Moultonborough.
WINTERKIDS IS AWARD WINNING.
Our WinterKids Challenge for elementary schools and preschools continues to grow. We were delighted to receive the Maine Public Health Association’s Public Health Program of Excellence Award in 2016. The award recognizes one effective, efficient, evidence-based, and creative public health program each year.
WINTERKIDS IS RESULTS-DRIVEN.In 7 years of the WinterKids Challenge in Maine preschools and elementary schools, over 24,000 kids and 1,780 teachers have increased their outdoor physical activity minutes by 2.2 million minutes using the WinterKids Guide to Outdoor Active Learning!
WINTERKIDS IS TEACHER-APPROVED.
This year, our WinterKids Challenge for elementary schools went for the gold with the launch of the WinterKids Winter Games! Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, one elementary school in each of Maine’s 16 counties competed in a four-week outdoor physical activity and nutrition challenge during the month of January for cash prizes, equipment and more. We reached 230 teachers and 4,200 kids ages 5-12 in all 16 counties. This coming year, we will enlist two elementary schools per county, doubling the participation statewide.
WINTERKIDS IS BACKYARDS. PLAYGROUNDS. MOUNTAINS.
Our Welcome to Winter Festival and Downhill 24 continue to be very popular and well-received winter events. The former is our signature kick off to winter at Payson Park in Portland and the latter is our signature winter fundraiser at Sugarloaf. In addition to these large events, we work with outdoor, physical activity groups statewide to enhance outdoor winter activity statewide. This year, we will collaborate with 40+ organizations for outdoor winter fun!
TOGETHER, WE CREATE THE SNOWBALL EFFECT.
WinterKids has broad based support from many corporations, foundations and individuals to serve kids in Maine and New Hampshire. We continue to make our programs more efficient, and reach more kids–all with four staff. It is crucial that we ensure that the next generation lives longer than their parents, that childhood obesity is decreasing, and that our connection to the natural world is not lost. WinterKids and multiple partners are doing all we can to move the needle in the right direction, and we will continue to expand our education programs to reach kids in the easiest place – school. We have an engaged 18-member board, 5 passionate staff, 3 interns, and nearly 100 committed volunteers statewide who help fulfill our mission. It takes unique people to fill important positions in a small nonprofit with such a large reach. Our collective team is excellent at what they do and takes great pride in our programs. Please visit www.winterkids.org and our social channels to learn more about the impact our programs are having on Maine and New Hampshire children and families.
Key Talking Points
- WinterKids began in 1997 as a singular learn to ski program through the Ski Maine Association. In 2000, WinterKids became a nonprofit.
- For 20 years, the Passport program has offered Maine 5th, 6th and 7th graders and their siblings the opportunity to try a new winter sport at more than 50 participating winter sports areas. We have reached over 75,000 Maine kids with this program! This year, we are launching the WinterKids App to help get the whole family outside more often in winter. The native app will be made available to all families in Maine and New Hampshire on December 1st.
- We reach 12,000 kids a year in the most rural corners of Maine and New Hampshire through our school programs. The WinterKids Challenge helps teachers get their students outside and active with lessons from the WinterKids Guide to Outdoor Active Learning (the GOAL). The GOAL is aligned with learning standards and includes outdoor, active lessons for math, science, reading and more!
- In 8 years of the WinterKids Challenge in Maine elementary and preschools, nearly 31,000 kids and 2,459 teachers have increased their outdoor physical activity minutes by 2.4 million minutes using the WinterKids Guide to Outdoor Active Learning (GOAL).
- The inaugural WinterKids Winter Games served 4,500 kids and 230 teachers last year! One elementary school in each of Maine’s 16 counties competed in a four-week physical activity and nutrition challenge during the month of January for cash prizes and more. This year, 2 schools in each county will participate for a total of 8,500 kids and 450 teachers. Wow!
- We have several community events throughout the year to encourage families to get outside and active together. WinterKids hosts Welcome to Winter in Portland’s Payson Park, and Great Maine Outdoor Weekend at L.L.Bean.
- The Downhill 24, our 24-hour team ski challenge at Sugarloaf, has raised over $975,000 for WinterKids programs.
- We have 18 board members, 5 staff members, 3 interns, and 100 volunteers annually, and a budget just over 650K. Our major supporters include Hannaford, L.L.Bean, WEX, Irving Oil, and WMTW-8.