Anthony went on to a successful career as a professional skier, filming with Warren Miller Entertainment for 25 years, and traveling the globe guiding clients and coaching at camps. He’s also produced documentaries, written for magazines, worked in television, and co-authored a guidebook. Now Anthony is focusing his energy on giving the next generation of kids the same motivation that got him off on the right road. Chris Anthony’s Youth Initiatives Project brings real-life learning moments into the classroom, and also aims to connect motivated kids to educational opportunities in arts, athletics, or academics through a scholarship program.
“I’m clearly dyslexic,” Anthony says. “I wasn’t the greatest when it came to traditional academics. I pretty much failed in our system, bottom line. But the most impactful and teachable moment for me was when I could apply what we were learning to an actual physical world or an experience.”
For 16 years, Anthony has been bringing such experiences into classrooms across the country. It started as a way to get kids excited to ski through Colorado Ski Country’s 5th Grade Passport Program, which gives fifth-graders 60 free ski days as a way to introduce them to skiing and snowboarding. “The collateral effect of that was when I went in and shared the stories and the excitement through using clips out of Warren Miller films; it turns out there are a lot of very teachable moments in those clips,” Anthony says.
When his role with Colorado Ski Country was phased out, Anthony continued to give presentations at schools, working them into the Warren Miller Entertainment film tours, absorbing any costs himself. In September 2013, he received 501(c) tax-exempt status as a nonprofit, and decided to expand the mission of his youth initiatives, including adding the scholarship program.
“I would go to the school, talk to the kids, get the kids all excited, drop all these valuable lessons on them, then leave the school, and wonder what happens from that point on,” Anthony says. “I want create a way to bridge kids to educational opportunities, whether it’s through arts, academics, or athletics. In most cases, hopefully the kids—the parents—can provide their own financing. In other cases, there may be some financial challenges. If some kid is showing amazing ability … and not just ability, but desire to chase down a goal, to aspire to go after something—if they’re showing that hunger, they would need to apply to my organization, and hopefully I’ll be able to help them.”
Anthony is also expanding the program’s network of mentors through a circle of influential friends. At the program’s annual fundraiser in Denver on October 13, fellow pro skiers Chris Davenport, Mike Douglas, Ingrid Backstrom, and Jess McMillan volunteered to give presentations. Anthony is also working with musicians such as Scott Stoughton of Bonfire Dub and Liza Oxnard, best known around Colorado as the former frontwoman for Zuba.
As the foundation grows, Anthony plans to continue to visit schools in hopes of inspiring the next generation to chase their goals. He encourages parents and teachers to reach out, because those are the people who usually initiate a visit, rather than the institutions themselves.
To learn more about Chris Anthony’s Youth Initiatives Project, request a visit, or donate, visit his website.
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