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Chill: Natalie Markarian

Who wouldn’t want a little winter fun in the middle of the summer? OK, maybe not a lot of people, but South Boston’s Natalie Markarian is sure psyched to snowboard in July!

Markarian has been with the Neighborhood House for 5 years and is currently working in the Ollie Preschool. Next week she will head off the Mount Hood, Oregon to participate in the High Cascade Summer Camp through the neighborhood house’s collaboration with CHILL Boston.  CHILL Boston has partnered with the SBNH  to offer snowboarding lessons for youth in communities where young kids might not have the opportunity otherwise.

CHILL was founded by the inventors of the BURTON Snowboard and has served more than 20,000 young people since the program began, working with approximately 1,400 youth annually.  CHILL works with social service agencies, mental health agencies, foster care programs, juvenile justice programs, and schools in local communities to select youth participants.  Everything is provided to the youth at no cost. 

This is the second time South Boston Neighborhood House has had one of their teens selected to participate in HCSC. Participants must be nominated by SBNH staff who then submits a letter of recommendation about the nominee. Some of the qualities that led to Markarian’s nomination include her ambitiousness, eagerness to learn, compassion and willingness to help others.

During her stay, Markarian will learn the ins and outs of riding the park features at Mount Hood. The camp also keeps professional snowboarders on hand for special lessons and motivation. In addition to all the snow activities, HCSC offers a number of “off the hill” activities including skateboarding, dodge ball, foam pits, trampolines, and white water rafting.

“It’s very exciting,” said Markarin. “After participating in the Chill program for so long and putting in all that hard work it’s nice to see that it really paid off.” Markarian has been a part of the CHILL Boston program for several seasons and this year was selected as a Peer Leader. As a Peer Leader Markarian transitioned from student to teacher and helped the younger participants learn the snowboarding skills she had mastered. However, Markarian said she’s happy to be back on the student side of things while at camp, stating she’s “most exited to learn tricks and jumps because it’s something new and challenging.”

“Natalie is one of 17 youth nominated, and only 6 were chosen for HCSC so The Ollie is very proud of Natalie,” said Kathy Lafferty, SBNH Director. “We’ve been a proud partner of CHILL Boston for 10 years and through the program, the Ollie has had amazing success with our kids learning to snowboard at Wachusett Mountain all while developing important physical and interpersonal skills. This is a wonderful opportunity for Natalie and we wish her the best on her trip,” she added.

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About the Author

Christine Fennelly

South Boston resident since 1996 (left for the 'burbs for a few years but that was no fun), unabashed anglophile, unapologetic binge watcher and voracious reader. Strong advocate for Al's Liquor store to roll out a rewards card for frequent customers. (You know that's a good idea.) Devotee of all things Cafe Porto Bello. SBCA mom, lives on Thomas Park with her precocious 10 yr old son and her spoiled rotten Bernese Mountain Dog, Dory.