Jam for Love supports local children

Austin Irwin

As if the amount of expected snow weren’t a big enough excuse to hit the slopes this weekend, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is raising money for the Lake Superior Village Youth and Family Center (LSVYFC). PRSSA’s Jam for Love features a ski and snowboard rail, judged by its very own competitors, to help achieve an $800 goal.

“This event is in its fourth year running. It was started in 2008 by NMU’s chapter of PRSSA group as a way to gain experience and raise money for a local non-profit organization each year,” PRSSA member Scott Wanhala said.

Wanhala, a senior at Northern Michigan University, has contributed to the Jam for Love organization in both 2008 and 2009, and is playing a major role in the organization of this year’s event.

Sophomore Emma Dodd rides a rail at Marquette Mountain, the location of the Jam for Love fundraiser for the Lake Superior Village Youth and Family Center. The jam is judged by those riding, and there are classes for men’s ski, men’s snowboard and all females. // Photo courtesy of Mike Kvackay

“The 2011 event is slightly different due to the judging being done by the participants, so it’s like a democracy as to who wins each class because they vote. The attitude is laid back and easygoing, because after all it’s a fundraiser for the kids,” Wanhala said.

Lake Superior Village Youth and Family Center (LSVYFC) serves students from the age of five to 17 who live in the Lake Superior Village Apartments and also around northern Marquette. They give children a place to go after school where they can continue learning academically and socially, free of cost.

“PRSSA picks one organization a semester to raise money. Two members worked for the YMCA, and offered the idea of a fundraiser for LSVYFC. We help kids with a place to go to after school to not just do homework, but to also have a healthy snack,” LSVYFC supervisor Karen Kasprzak said.

LSVYFC offers an after-school summer program for kids as well, or after school to help with general homework and offer children an art club, poetry club and a healthy snack after their regular school hours.

“The best part about my job is being here to support kids and families and seeing them grow and change, while getting better grades and learning to socialize,” Kasprzak said.

Marquette Mountain has an elevation of 1,357 feet, with a slope length of 8,400 feet covering 1.25 miles in length that includes 25 runs. On Saturdays, Marquette Mountain offers $15 lift tickets and free rentals after 4 p.m., as well as $1 tacos and drinks.

Scott McIsaac, a freshman at Northern, plans on celebrating the event by watching a friend compete.

“My buddy, Alec Berghoef, is really good. He’s going to take it home. He does all kinds of crazy stuff, and is probably going to try for a back flip on Saturday,” McIsaac said.

There are three classes for participants, which are men’s ski, men’s snowboard and all-female.

“Everyone is laid back (on the slopes). It’s a very chill environment, and I really like the creativity about boarding, making something from nothing and putting something together just for fun,” McIsaac said.

Marquette Mountain is open seven days a week until March 15, from 10 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Monday’s hours and weekend numbers differ.

“I’ve been boarding since the sixth or seventh grade. I love Marquette Mountain; it’s not the biggest hill I’ve been on, but it’s really fun,” freshman Bryan Cook said.

“The first couple of days really suck, but if you stick with it, it gets really fun. I gave up after the first few times I tried, after I got used to it I regret doing that. It’s a great adrenaline rush. Going off jumps is fun and thrilling, but carving is the best,” Cook said.

Jam for Love will be held on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 5 p.m. until 10 a.m. Sunday morning at Marquette Mountain. It costs $10 to enter, with prizes and $1 raffle tickets.