Organizers of the Ragged Mountain Scuttle donated $4,400 to the Camden Snow Bowl to support the fourth-grade learn to ski program for the 2016-2017 season.

The ski program is free and open to all fourth-grade students at participating schools in Knox, Waldo, and Lincoln counties and currently serves 15 elementary schools.

According to the Snow Bowl, the program consists of three visits by each school, during the school day, with complementary rental equipment, ski lessons and lift tickets. The only cost to the school is bus transportation. The program has been running for more than 20 years and many regular skiers at the Camden Snow Bowl first started in the fourth-grade program.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to support the 2017 Learn to Ski Program,” said Scuttle Race Director Diana Castle. “The Ragged Mountain Scuttle is an opportunity for us to give back to the community with 100 percent of proceeds supporting charity. When we began the race three years ago our objective was to support local and global organizations that have an immediate impact. This check is a great start to building support and giving back locally and we could not have accomplished this if it were not for the strong partnership with the Snow Bowl and the dedication of our volunteers.”

According to Ski School Director Jeff Dec, from surveys they have done in the past, they know that there are significant impacts on students who participate in the ski program, including increased confidence in themselves over the three sessions, excitement and challenge in learning a new skill, learning to be comfortable outdoors in the winter and new appreciation of their classmates.

“This money will allow our area youth to experience skiing and riding at the Camden Snow Bowl,” said Beth Ward, Camden’s Parks & Recreation assistant director.

The fourth-grade ski program represents a direct expense of more than $100 per student, according to the Snow Bowl. About 40 percent of this expense is offset by fundraising and donations by the Ragged Mountain Ski Club. About 10 percent is offset by the raffle tickets that elementary students sell as part of the program. In the past, the Snow Bowl has subsidized the rest of the funds for the program. The $4,400 donation from the Ragged Mountain Scuttle organizers covers that expense this year.

The 3rd annual Ragged Mountain Scuttle, which was presented by Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital, was held Sept. 18, with more than 250 people participating in the family-friendly event, which featured 20 obstacles on a 5K loop on the Ragged Mountain trails. Planning is already under way for next year’s event.