Lisle Girl Scouts offer free ski lessons for those with autism
A Lisle Girl Scout troop is inviting adults and children with autism to try skiing for free at Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports on Jan. 17.
Maeve Doyle, Amanda Laurinec, Marley Malczewski, Emme Moore and Briana Ortiz -- the five Lincoln Junior High School eighth-graders in Troop 50796 -- came up with the idea more than a year ago while brainstorming ways to achieve their Silver Award.
Troop Leader Sue Laurinec said the girls decided they wanted to melt down old Crayons and make new, bigger "super Crayons" that would be easy for children with autism to use. She told them it was a good thought but not enough to earn their award, which requires them to spend at least 50 hours organizing and completing a community project.
Emme then suggested going skiing with the children. Laurinec made a call to Four Lakes at 5750 Lakeside Drive in Lisle, and the managers agreed not only to host the event but also to offer free admission to the autistic skiers and their families.
"I was blown away by the generosity," Laurinec said.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lessons will take place at noon. All interested in taking a lesson are asked to arrive by 11:15 a.m., to get tickets and put on their equipment.
Roughly 35 people have registered so far, and Laurinec hopes many more will consider attending.
"They're very excited to be able to try this sport, knowing that maybe their son or daughter might not like it five minutes later. They get to try it for free," Laurinec said of the people who have already signed up. "Some people think we're in over our heads doing this, but all we want to provide is a fun day of sports and let everyone know that they can try skiing or snowboarding ... and that they're not limited to staying inside."
The girls didn't give up their Crayon idea, either. Since spring, they have been collecting hundreds of Crayons, stripping them bare and preparing them to be melted, which they recently did at SCARCE, a Glen Ellyn environmental organization that encourages recycling and composting.
The super Crayons, now in the shapes of snowmen, Christmas trees and Darth Vaders, will be handed out during the ski event, along with handmade coloring books.
"I really want it to be a successful event," Laurinec said. "Once (the girls) see the kids out on the slopes, I think they're going to gain a greater appreciation for the autism community and learn patience."
Anyone interested in attending should register by Jan. 10 by emailing Laurinec at firstname.lastname@example.org.