Nonprofit honoring late Park City skier Sam Jackenthal partners with U.S. Ski and Snowboard
Local nonprofit Live Like Sam is taking a much larger stage. On March 26, the organization partnered with U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
Live Like Sam, distributes scholarships in the memory of the late local freeskier Sam Jackenthal, has been accruing partners rapidly since the official launch of LiveLikeSam.org in February. It now has more than 25 partnering businesses and organizations, with U.S. Ski and Snowboard being the latest addition.
The partnership is still in its infancy with many of the details yet to be settled, but U.S. Ski and Snowboard plans on using Live Like Sam curriculum as a tool for athlete development.
Ron Jackenthal, Sam’s father and the founder of Live Like Sam, said the nonprofit is in the process of developing digital, evidence-based programming that will promote the attitude that Sam Jackenthal brought to his own athletic pursuits before the 16-year-old’s fatal training accident three years ago.
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“We thought this would be a strong partnership,” Jackenthal said. “It’s a strong goal of (U.S. Ski and Snowboard) to get further into whole-athlete development and youth athlete education. And there was a lot of support from them and others in the community around the initiative.”
The resulting curriculum will likely take the form of age-group specific web-based education and training, Jackenthal said.
“It’s a welcome medium, leveraging a lot of video,” he added.
Tom Webb, chief spokesman for U.S. Ski and Snowboard, said there are no firm dates yet on when that curriculum will put to use, but both organizations already see the partnership as fruitful.
“We have an opportunity with a national and international audience to promote awareness of what their aims are,” Webb said of Live Like Sam. “It’s a good thing for us to do, and we are really proud to lend our name and support to Live Like Sam.”
Webb said Live Like Sam’s message will become part of U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s athlete career and education program, which helps athletes navigate life by offering things like career development and mentorship opportunities, scholarships and life planning. The Live Like Sam curriculum would focus more on development of the athlete as a person, and would show the benefits of adopting some of the ideas that defined Sam’s personality, such as sportsmanship, responsibility and inclusivity.
“That’s really at the heart of what Live Like Sam is all about,” Webb said. “This desire to drive an agenda that says being a good person is a good thing, and we think that’s a really, really inspirational message.”
The partnership will represent a big jump in visibility for the nonprofit, which could potentially be introduced to hundreds of feeder clubs and thousands of athletes across America associated with U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
In the meantime, Jackenthal is happy to see his son’s name associated with an organization that the family was so close to.
At the time of his death, Sam had won a freeskiing junior national championship and, outside of graduating high school, his two main goals were to compete in the Olympics and to compete in the X games.
“It’s not a way I would have chosen three years ago to wind up in a partnership with this organization that we had a longstanding connection with,” Jackenthal said. “But I’m really glad we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young athletes. I get to honor Sam. I get to take our loss and hopefully turn it into an even greater legacy, and that feels very special.”
He said had Sam been alive to see the partnership and his name associated with U.S. Ski and Snowboard, he would have been “stoked.”
“He was so good with younger kids and mentoring and helping that I think he would feel this is the right thing to do,” Jackenthal said. “And I think if Sam couldn’t (ski), he would want to help and give back. It was just the way he was wired.”
For more information on Live Like Sam or the Sam Jackenthal Fund, go to LiveLikeSam.org.
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“Its not much considering the whole season was lost, but the fact that the girls did get a chance to play at the end for something was pretty special.”