You know the old Chinese Proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  Here’s why I brought it up: Imagine if the person you originally taught to fish found your teachings meaningful and useful, then set sail and taught two other people.  In turn, each one of those pupils realizes the importance of the teachings and inherently passes it on to two more people…each.

Eventually, an ambitious and passionate fisherperson decides to build a school for fisherpeople, and as a result, knowledge expands even farther. The knowledge gets passed from fisherperson to fisherperson, rippling through the oceans of humanity; communities adopt it, master it, compete in it, thrive off it, and pay homage to it.

For those of you who may not know, there’s currently a team of individuals, who are active in our community, which operate and thrive off a similar philosophy.  It’s a team of talented individuals who were taught to fish, found it successful and fun, and who are now teaching others to fish with hopes of contributing to the survival of their tight-knit community.

The team of individuals: Team Summit Colorado.  The community: Summit County.  The philosophy: to provide a safe, fun, competitive, goal–oriented environment where all athletes can find success—whether it’s through learning the fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding, or competing at the highest of levels.  The mission: to promote character development through athletics, by stressing self–reliance, persistence,

Team Summit members Anne Parker, Coco Taylor, Sarah Pierson hang out after practice

dedication and achievement; “We believe that the lessons learned on the mountain, through skiing and snowboarding, build world-class athletes and community leaders, and will serve the athletes long after their competitive careers are over.”

Many of the individuals involved in Team Summit use knowledge they’ve acquired over the years to teach kids the necessary skills for achieving personal goals, contributing to family life, and helping with the development of the our community.

A great example of this theory in community development can be seen in my very own family.  Erik Leirfallom, my brother, and the new Alpine Program Director for Team Summit, was once a participant in the Copper Mountain Ski Team program back in the 90’s before Team Summit was formed.  Since then, he’s taught recreational skiers at Purgatory Resort, became a certified instructor, clinician and examiner for PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America), became Purgatory’s ski school youth programs manager, and also directed the local Ski Team.

During the summers, Erik coached junior athletes at Mt. Hood, Oregon, and for the last 5 years, coached for the US Adaptive Alpine National Team (where he won International Coach of the Year).  Megan, his wife, was also taught to ski at a very young age.  She competed for the Lake Eldora Race Team and Winter Park, and also taught skiing and racing at Purgatory Resort. Since then, she has received the highest level of certification from PSIA.  Megan, a certified PE teacher, is also wholeheartedly involved with Team Summit as the Academic Advisor and as a coach for the FIS level athletes.

She and Erik have now permanently relocated to Summit County and expanded our community, and their family, with the addition of their first born son, Jon Michael Leirfallom.  And so the cycle continues… Teach a person to fish, and in turn, they may build an entire community of fisherpeople, all capable of doing the same….if not more.

To learn more about Team Summit, log onto www.teamsummit.org, or follow them on Facebook at Team Summit

By, IanL

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