One of our Cardrona ski instructors, Russ Kauff, writes about a defining moment for a young girl from Hong Kong this week.
I’ve been lucky enough this week to get to ski a bunch with a pretty terrific young woman. She’s eight years old, meaning that she is one of my people. She’s from Hong Kong & is the only person in her family who speaks English, which she does extremely well. She’s inquisitive, thoughtful, light-hearted, intrepid, very clever, lots of fun, & she skis better when she sings out loud. Our time together included one fascinating conversation.
During what I like to call our “half-time break” over a cup of water in the Captain’s Café, I introduced my young charge (let’s call her “H”) to several people – some friends from town & a variety of staff floating through the lodge. They represented a surprisingly diverse group – ages, nationalities, roles at the resort, levels within our hierarchy, etc.
After one quiet moment in the otherwise bustling place, H looked me squarely in the eye & asked “Who’s your boss?”
“Rachael is my boss,” I said. “She’s the Director of the Snow Sports School.”
“Your boss is a girl?” H asked with a surprised look on her face.
“Yes, she is.”
And then, after another pregnant pause: “Who’s Rachael’s boss?”
“Bridget is Rachael’s boss. She’s a girl too.” More surprise.
“Who is Bridget’s boss?”
“Bridget doesn’t have a boss. She’s the boss of the whole resort.” (Caveat: I know that response was a bit of fudge, but I opted for clarity over detail & accuracy). H’s eyes went as wide as her little face could stretch as she clearly reengineered her view of the working world.
Earlier that day, I had asked H what she wanted to be when she grew up, to which she responded that she’d like to be a pop star. Following her realization about the gender of the people in charge at Cardrona, I asked H if she’d like to be a boss when she grew up. “Yes,” she said, “I would like to be a boss of a lot of people.” She said this without any sarcasm or hint that she felt it to be wishful thinking, & she had a deadly serious look on her face. I believed her, & I believe that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind towards.
Kids rule. Teaching kids skiing & riding, helping them gain confidence & accomplish goals, guiding them through adventures that bring them joy, & helping set them on a path towards self-awareness & self-esteem is a tremendous privilege. Yeah, I know, it’s not as though we’re making the world safe for democracy by teaching skiing & riding. Still, secretly, sometimes, just between us chickens, I do think we might be making a difference. Just don’t tell the kids that, because they’re too busy being kids & making the most of every moment.
Know any good knock-knock jokes? I need some new material.
You can follow Russ' endless winter on his blog, or catch him up on the mountain for a lesson!