Snowboarding champion riding for children in Mongo
July 25, 2006
Snowboarding champion riding for children in Mongolia
A taste of Mongolia, doorags, and a New Zealand pro-snowboarder riding for underprivileged children: An unusual combination but one you will find on the slopes at this year's Burton NZ Open, August 3-5, at Snow Park NZ in Wanaka.
Christchurch top snowboarder Robett 'Holler' Hollis, 21, is riding for more than titles, awards and recognition at the upcoming premier snowboarding competition, he's also aiming to raise awareness and funds for World Vision's Children in Crisis projects like the Lighthouse centres for street children in Mongolia.
The Children in Crisis programme provides funds to house children who have no parents and who would otherwise be living on the street or in underground heating tunnels during winter. This Lighthouse project aims to eventually establish the children in their own gers, traditional Mongolian felt tents.
"Being able to help out World Vision and Children in Crisis is something I'm super stoked about and it's a programme I'm really proud to be a part of," Robett says.
World Vision's Southern Region Territory Manager, Graeme Newton, says there's a strong connection between the project Holler is supporting and New Zealand snowboarders: "People in Mongolia spend five months of their year in snow, not dissimilar to snowboarders in our country – but not everyone has the same chance to experience these types of benefits of winter."
Hollis wants to use his snowboarding talent to make a positive difference in the lives of homeless children in Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar. As well as raising funds for the World Vision project, he also hopes to travel to Mongolia next year, with fellow-rider Mitchell Brown, to visit the Lighthouse centres and to film a snowboarding documentary on the obscure Mongolian slopes.
"To be on the other side of the world here in NZ and be able to help out with World Vision is awesome, but to actually be able to get over to Mongolia and get involved, first hand, would be life changing for sure," Robett says.
This is the second year World Vision has been involved in the Burton NZ Open and they are enthusiastic about the opportunity to have a presence among the snowboarding community at such an anticipated event.
"I am excited about the charity opportunities we have with Burton, more than just bucket collecting on the slopes, to the point that we can engage people with the work we do around the world. It's great connecting top riders, like Holler, to our projects and the people we help through them," says Mr Newton.
Robett believes the humanitarian component is a positive addition to the competition: "Most snowboarders are young and deep down all like to help others out. With World Vision being involved with the Open it just makes reaching the public on a more personal level that much easier."
The aid agency will be on the mountain with information on projects they are funding in developing countries - including the one Robett is supporting - background information on the Children in Crisis programme, and the newest merchandise addition: Children in Crisis doorags.