PLEASE READ BEFORE COMPLETING YOUR APPLICATION FORM
What does this mean? Lots of things really, you'll have a great time, you'll have to work very hard and all at your own expense - you pay for the privilege of this working holiday or you can fundraise.
As a helper-buddy (team member) you'll be one of a group of 29 adults accompanying 20 children on a fun, snow adventure activity holiday to Pflersch, Sudtirol, Italy. (Near Vipitino) The children are not ordinary - they are very special and without your help would not even be able to enjoy a holiday that many children take for granted, let alone a skiing holiday. The children have a range of medical illnesses and physical disabilities that would normally exclude them from school holidays. They range in age normally from 7 to 14 years of age. The children travel alone, that is no parents allowed to come with us, as such you as a team member would take on the role of tending to all of the children's needs.
You will have to make sure, if you are assigned a child that you generally look after the children as if they were your own. Make sure they're properly clothed and kitted out for skiing each morning, make sure they do have more than an occasional wash and don't forget to clean their teeth, make sure they go to ski school, meal times and make all other appointments on time, keep an eye on their spending money and make certain that they send postcards home, assist with buying any presents for brothers and sisters etc, as there is the inevitable shopping trip. Attend to your child's everyday physical and emotional needs. More importantly you should not neglect any assigned child in favour of another child especially regarding any possible physiological needs your child may have or might experience.
Of course you won't have to do all of this on your own as the group (team) works together to help each other, and remember, some of the adult helpers are very experienced in this type of holiday. There is nursing, physiotherapy and medical back-up including trained persons in physiological needs in the group so you've got all the support to fall back on. Remember strictly no alcohol for children regardless of age. if deemed appropriate, the occasional hug if they are a bit homesick. The essence of this type of group holiday about showing lots of love to all of the children and not just your favourites as and when appropriate, to build up their self esteem. You will see the results towards the end of the week and on the return to the UK.
But I can't Ski !!!
Don't be put off if you can't ski. Just imagine who would be left to look after the children if we were all on skis, and anyway God forbid the chaos in the boot room!! Please Note! Only the allocated ski guide / instructors / ski helpers and ski medics have ski hire and because the nursery slope is on the hotel doorstep they may not even need to put on their skis for the first few days.
You will find there is more than enough to keep you occupied inside the hotel and out. You will be required to help assist with setting up and putting away equipment and learning how to teach the children the new challenges of skiing. Inside the hotel you may be asked to assist children and help in the preparation of evening events plus lots of fetching and carrying. So skiing for helpers obviously can't be a priority or a foregone conclusion on this type of holiday.
Remember - the first priority is to the children, helping out at ski lessons, meal times and apres ski evenings and the night times.
All Apres ski entertainment is self-contained in the hotel which we solely occupy. Don't expect to get out to the disco or the bar every night for your normal Apres ski entertainment, it would be frowned upon and just isn't possible.
Evening entertainment's is always based as a group effort, and in the past has included Karaoke evening discos, quiz night, fancy dress, cabaret and with many more surprises and guest appearances.
Remember - If you are not prepared to participate at all evening entertainment and all other levels then this type of holiday is not for you. This is a holiday of a lifetime for the children, but don't forget doing things as a group can be really good fun too.
The holiday is to the Pflersch Valley, Sudtirol, Italy, formerly Austria, and is one hour from Innsbruck going over the Brennor Pass Near Vipitino.
Departure from the UK Friday 21st February 2014
Thursday 20th February 2014 for our Scottish Travellers
Returning Sunday 2nd March 2014
The cost of the holiday donation is £300 (subsidised). If there is a problem with this please discuss it with us.
The price includes:-
Travel by special catered luxury coach with a Specialised Ski Trailer
All meals and drinks on the bus and ferry on route
Euro Tunnel return
Full board and special diets at 3 star Hotel Pension Argentum
Special holiday and ski insurance incorporating the children. This is a basic insurance to helpers if you need extra cover we suggest if you don't already have yearly cover or good existing cover you might consider making your own arrangements in this area. Please note high access to be paid on most claims
All lift passes that may be required (Passes bought as and when required)
The price does not include
Return Breakfast at Clackets Lane Services (Will take Euros)
Your drinks in the hotel other than tea and coffee at breakfast and any telephone calls that you make, also beware any serious breakages, chairs etc
Katie's cannot help individual helpers with their expenses unless a prior arrangement is made whereby you pay or fundraise at a later date or introduce Katie's to a potential sponsor to cover your fare. All our efforts are directed towards raising money to pay for the children. Many helpers in the past have received financial assistance by writing to employers, companies and charities for support. If you are under 26 years of age the Princes Trust is very helpful and popular. A little arm twisting or a word at work, your local pub, club, Round Table, Lions, Rotary etc. can often do the trick as they like to support local people in the community
Remember: Pflersch although it is a very beautiful village, it is also at altitude and is not an ideal place to go as a helper unless you are fit and able to cope with the elements. You must disclose any information that might make your winter travel insurance invalid. Please do not attempt to travel without disclosing any pre-existing conditions or back problems as you will, immediately, be asked to make your own way home at your own expense. Katie's Ski Tracks cannot carry any helpers - you must be able to give 100% plus.
Please be aware that you will work harder in ten days than you have ever worked in your life and you'll be exhausted on your return to the UK but hopefully suitably rewarded. Please Note: If you do not take plenty of fluids on these holidays you will find, with the varying temperatures and exertion at altitude, that you may become sick with stomach upsets that may wipe you out for a day or two. Also be aware that you will be working with children and as a helper-buddy you will have to be police checked. There should be lots of fun, but heaven help the cleaners who have to keep the rooms tidy every day !!
We have tried to cover briefly your position below but whether you are a Ski Guide, Doctor, Nurse, Physio, Cameraman or Entertainer, foremost we are all (HELPERS) team members, remember, this is the children's holiday and you must also understand your day doesn't finish when ski lessons are over.
These notes have been developed to provide all helpers with a clear view of their role on a Katie's Ski Tracks holiday.
On a Katie's holiday we try to promote a relaxed and fun loving atmosphere that is not prescriptive with loads of rules, allowing both children and helpers to enjoy themselves, common sense prevailing of course. However, from experience, we know it is important that all the helpers understand their role so they can contribute fully, making the holiday a total success.
If there is anything in these guidance notes which you would like to discuss before signing your application form, please contact Martin Newman or Michelle Dooley. It is essential to the holiday's success that you understand what is expected of you and that you are 100% + committed to joining in, on and off the slopes, in all of the holiday's activities.
To ensure that all the children enjoy themselves and feel they have achieved to their fullest, participating together as a group. So when they return home they can truly say this really was a holiday of a lifetime and in the hope that they do not forget your name because if you sit back and don't participate or generally care for them they will forget you, so too will fellow helpers. To encourage and install self confidence and belief in each and every child day by day as we start off the week and the events slowly building up to a major crescendo at the end of the holiday. To achieve this you must be prepared to give quality time especially to your designated child in preference to all other children, this is not to say the other children should be neglected.
A SENSE OF HUMOUR
A GOOD LISTENER
You may be given important information about a child's condition that you need to remember, the children also need to feel they can talk to you about anything at anytime.
A TEAM PLAYER
We are all there to ensure that the kids do have a holiday of a lifetime and not to exercise our egos!
We are a small team of 29 helpers and even if one helper takes a relaxed attitude, it puts a lot of strain on the rest of the group.
WILLING TO JOIN IN
In addition to skiing there will be a full evening's worth of entertainment, we all have more fun if everyone joins in.
A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY
This is important for two reasons: The lives and well being of the children are in your hands, if you ignore the medical team or Ski Guide Co-ordinators then you could be endangering a child's life. Inappropriate behaviour by you on this holiday affects the success of the holiday and of future holidays. News of your behaviour may get back to parents, care/social workers, sponsors or even your family and employer and may effect Katie's Ski Tracks ability to organise future holidays.
Usually we take about 7-9 guides on the holiday; a mixture of qualified instructor's guides with disabled experience having attended DSUK training and awareness courses along with very experienced skiers all receiving ongoing daily briefing and training and assessment. The holiday comprises 20 children, these are split into the totally mobile (usually just under half) and those with mobility problems.
The mobile children are taught by an Italian instructor, the rest of the children are the guides and possibly helper's responsibility.
All children will have been assessed prior to the holiday and a range of equipment will have been brought out with us to ensure we can maximise potential. Initially the less mobile children will have been put into smaller groups so that the Ski Guides are working with the children with similar mobility problems. Children can ski from 10.30 am to 12.30 and 2.00pm to 3.45 most days weather and children's ability permitting.
For those Guides/Instructors with little disability experience the groups will be structured so that they are working with another guide with relevant experience. Helpers will be able to work alongside on the slope. Throughout the week the majority of the children will be working within the same small area. So there will be lots of people around if you need to ask advice. A full medical team will be on the slopes at all times. The group doctor and physio must be involved regarding the relocating of children to different groups or methods of skiing. With the less mobile children there will be a lot of effort getting the children back up the slopes. Ski Guides will be assigned a group of willing helpers to assist in this area.
As the week progresses more and more children will be using the ski lift with and without the help of a Guide. Katie's budget is for a set number of passes throughout the week so please never promise a child they can have a pass. Safety first, a child may progress when the medical and ski guide co-ordinator feel they are ready. Please, as a Guide, never relocate yourself to another group without consulting the ski co-ordinator. The slope has certain rules about how we can travel up on the lift with different equipment. We need to maintain the goodwill of the locals.
The Guide Co-ordinator will have medical information on all the children with mobility problems and this will be shared with the Ski Guide team. Remember this is confidential however Guides will not have information on the mobile children. If you are skiing with these children for any reason please be very cautious. Outwardly they may look very fit and healthy but they may not be. Children will sometimes ignore their bodies warning symptoms; so keep an eye on them, don't let them ski on their own and don't let them overexert themselves. This may well be true of all the children.
Accidents on the slope, if there are any accidents it is your responsibility to alert a member of the medical team immediately. Generally, it is not wise to move someone injured, so send someone to get the doctor, nurse or paramedic, they will never be more than a minute away. You are not expected to give any form of first aid as we have our own medical team and all ski slopes have their own ski patrols. Any accidents on or off the slope should be noted in the accident book kept by your Team Leader.
Each guide will take responsibility for his/her own small individual group of children with no interference from any other Ski Guide. In turn guides will work in association with the Team Leader/Guide co-ordinator. Outside of ski lessons, guides will then team up on a rota basis to set up and put away equipment, it is essential that Ski Guides follow these rotas and are on time for all lessons having set up the Boot Room each morning prior to the children's arrival. Please note that some decisions are subject to approval by the group doctor and physio. As a result the guide co-ordinator may have to make decisions about the management of the Guiding/Teaching with which some of the guides and helpers may not fully agree.
In these circumstances it is imperative that any personal disagreements are discussed privately with the Group Leader ski co-ordinator and that they are not allowed to affect either the smooth running of the team or the overall success of the holiday. This is true of all helpers in all other aspects of the holiday.
As many of the children have spent long periods of time in hospital their opportunities to achieve may have been limited. The very fact that they have got onto skis they see as a huge achievement in itself. As the children work together within their designated groups inevitably some children will have the potential to progress quicker than others. However, we want all the children to feel they have achieved equally. We try to ensure that we teach to the level of the least confident/slowest skier, so before the holiday each child will have been placed in a lower group in order that they might only gain confidence in moving up into another group and not having to go down and backwards into another group.
The children have no expectations of what they might achieve so none of the children will feel they are being held back. In the case that a skier in a group is clearly unable to keep up with the others, this should be discussed with the ski co-ordinator and a decision will be made whether to move this child or more suitably provide one to one tuition in the hope of getting them back into their group. We should, at every opportunity, praise all of the children equally for their progress, effort and achievements both on the slopes and off. This should be substantiated by the evening compare during after dinner events. Start the children off slowly at the bottom of the mountain as it were and then help them towards the end of the week to reach for the stars.
The children will tire very easily, as will you and as the week progresses we may find that some children prefer their beds in the morning! As will you! Don't push the children too hard or yourself; give yourself plenty of breaks, it isn't the Olympics. Not selfish breaks though, please think of your fellow team members.
If you are working with the wheelchair bound children, do check that they are warm and have company. Often their bodies do not give them warning signals that they are getting too cold. Keep people wrapped up. As mentioned previously, we have a range of adaptive equipment with us. It is however imperative that each of the 3 wheelchair users concerned with these skis only use the designated ski that has been set for them. Also only the assigned trained guides should operate the Bi-Ski and the 2-Child's Bi-Ski, this also applies to working with the visual impaired. Why? Because of continuing legislation and liability.
The group Doctor must be a practising Paediatric trained as should the nurses, in particular the Skiing Nurse who will ski with the sick and more mobile children. The Skiing Nurse should be fun loving and be able to relate to 11-14 year old children. This position will be shared at times with the Team-Leader. You will have plenty of cover as the majority of the nursing team will have travelled in the past. As a general rule the group will be split into 4 and you will be assigned certain children plus you will be a buddy to one child.
You will also be expected to use your initiative and help out at nearly every other level where possible. Medically the idea is obviously not to neglect the children nor is it to treat them as if they are still in hospital, God knows they have spent enough time in this environment. You really need to find a happy medium were you are seen to be a friend in order to achieve the same ends. Always seek advice from former medical team members. We can put you in touch with our group nurse for more information in this area before you make your application if you have further concerns.
Whilst we may have a good idea of the Physio's work load before we depart this can only be really determined once in resort. We know kids hate their treatment and we don't enforce it on them as if they were in hospital, nonetheless, it is important in individual areas because of the new experiences and climatic conditions that the children find themselves in that they should receive somewhere near their normal regime, especially for Cystic Fibrosis, as for the other children they nearly all suffer with stiff legs as do able bodied skiers. The children will be aware of this before they travel but you may find they will chance their luck with you as will the children with their Buddies.
The key to this position is to listen very carefully to your assigned co-ordinator and if unsure always ask for help. Basically never put the camera down and just keep taking photos. At the end of each day download all images onto our hard drive via laptop making sure you have the same amount of photos of each child and not to favour any one or group of children or helpers for that matter. The images of the children and the group will be made into a photo DVD and for our website and promotional. This position is critical and you have to give this your very best attention to get it right. To some extent you have to distance yourself from the kids and what's going on around you to achieve this. You will think that all photos are becoming much of a likeness and there is no point in taking anymore but we can assure you there is. Be sure you are up for this position before completing your application. May we suggest you contact us first for verbal information? Permission will have been granted to take store and use all images before travelling.
On the coach to and from Italy we have a 24 hour rota system for all helpers, where we have two hour shifts checking that the children are comfortable and do not require any assistance. Again, on arrival and departure, all of the adults are expected to help with loading and unloading the coach and trailer. It doesn't take long if everyone lends a hand.
In addition to your responsibilities you may find time to assist returning ski equipment from the ski slopes at lunch and evenings ready for the ski guides to put away. For the first couple of days the carers may also need to help the children with their ski equipment. We should ensure that the children wear their Katie's yellow ski bibs at all times when they are on the slope, and that the children top up on sunscreen and lipsalve. No Bib No Ski. Ski Bibs are also compulsory to ski Guides.
In the past the instructors have offered to give the other adults in the team lessons at opportune moments. We have seen this abused somewhat and cover in certain areas has been sadly missing on occasions. Rotas will be issued in resort to this purpose.
For all Volunteer Helpers and children/youngsters Travelling Katie's Ski Tracks (KST)
For the safety and protection of everyone travelling, Katie's Ski Tracks and the general public. Volunteer Helpers and children's parents, guardians or social workers will be required to complete and sign where necessary and appertaining to them the following:
To confirm they have read and fully understand all policies and procedures and risk assessments made available to them.
Consent forms for children to include:
Care and Medical Consent, (including named events and all surprise events).
Room Sharing Consent
Video and Photographic Consent
As a charitable organisation no fare payment is received by KST from Volunteers Helpers or Children/Youngsters. Therefore no cancellation fee will be paid by KST. KST group winter travel insurance does not cover curtailment or cancellation.
Katie's Ski Track has the right to cancel any holiday at any stage and for whatever reason KST will not be responsible for any inconvenience or expenses incurred what so ever by volunteer helpers children/young persons, parents, guardians, and social workers if cancellation is deemed necessary.
Katie's Ski Tracks will not be liable for any loss, damage or expenses resulting from actions or unforeseen circumstances outwith the control of KST Katie's Ski Tracks use only reliable long existing suppliers for all activities, and surprise activities whether they are named or not and include some of the following;
Red Cross Transport
Ski hire & ski school
Any unforeseen transport such as local taxis
Winter sports Insurance
Public Liability etc.
All suppliers are responsible for their own actions and liability and therefore no responsibility for their actions will be placed on KST.
Katie's Ski Tracks will insure every Volunteer Helper - Children/young Person.
Due to the nature of our insurance cover, expensive items, such as electrical items cameras etc, will not be covered if in doubt please do not carry such items or obtain your own cover. Children/Young persons will not be covered by our insurance should they not have disclosed any relevant health information either from Legal Parents, Guardians, Social Workers, or their practising General Practitioner or Consultant.
Any costs incurred by KST (such as evacuation costs, additional transport costs or emergency medical costs) as a result of sickness or injury to a traveller will be charged to the individual concerned Volunteer Helpers may wish to take out their own Winter Sports Insurance to this effect.
Volunteer Helpers will be asked to confirm they are fit and well to participate and will not be covered by our insurance should they not have disclosed any relevant health information before departure to Katie's Ski Tracks by way of completing our Volunteer Application Form or stating in writing to our Group Doctor at KST.
It is a key feature of our holidays that users of certain adaptive equipment are in the hands of our trained Ski Guides in cooperation with competent skiers and non skiing assistance. This includes Bi-Skis, Snow Sliders, Demand Frame and the Visually Impaired.
Users in Italian Ski School will be under the jurisdiction of the local Italian Ski School with either a nurse or Team Leader present. At the end of the week if the Italian Instructor gives his permission and all users are competent this group will ski for a maximum of 1.5 hours under the guidance of either the Skiing nurse or with a Team Leader. All other user methods will be skiing under the guidance of either trained ski guides or the guidance of competent skiers and non skiing helpers of which will be supervised by ski guides and Team Leaders.
All persons travelling are responsible to ensure they travel with a current passport valid for entry into Europe and they still have 6 months validity remaining before departure, and that they are in possession of an EHIC Health Card.
Users are expected to respect the Team Leaders who are final and binding on the entire group. Any adult leaving the group for any reason does so at their own risk with no liability developing on KST. Should any child/youngster disobey the guidance of their designated helper or team leader and have the determination and ability to remove themselves from the group and run away from their helper and party and should they be injured in whatever way in so doing KST will not be held responsible.
In the unlikely event of complaint, it should be raised with your Team Leaders at once. All adults will receive an evaluation form to be completed and handed in at the end of the holiday. All users are accepted only on the basis of the above conditions.
We need to raise approx. £50.000 to cover all of the children's holiday expenses. If you can help in any way over and above your own fare to ease the burden of fundraising from the small core of people who are normally committed to the task, then this would be wonderful.
If you feel that you would still like to become a team member on the next Katie's holiday, please first carefully read Guide Info for Helpers. Then when you are quite sure this is still for you please fill out the enclosed preliminary application and return. A.S.A.P.
If you have survived this information letter then you will survive the holiday and have a super time. It is rewarding, the more effort you put in, also it is addictive and you will want to come again and again! Please contact:
Martin Newman or Michelle Dooley
Tel / Fax - 0151 9287595
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
16 Newlyn Avenue, Litherland, Liverpool, L21 9LD
Please keep all information in a safe place for future reference. You will need to refer to this if selected to travel. Believe it or not after reading all this information, everyone that comes on this holiday has a great time. We hope that you will too.
THE APPLICATION FORMS ARE DESIGNED FOR RETURN VIA E.MAIL APPLICATION