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December 02, 2008

Spectrum Kids Will Shred Instead of Chill

Spectrumlogo Here's a splash of good news from our recently beleaguered friends at Spectrum Youth and Family Services: In response to all the recent press coverage about Spectrum pulling out of the Burton-sponsored Chill Program, which teaches underprivileged kids how to snowboard, Executive Director Mark Redmond reports that there's been a huge show of community generosity to get his kids on the slopes again this winter.

Thus far, donations to the Burlington nonprofit have included eight free snowboards, boots and bindings from the Alpine Shop, two rooftop snowboard racks for the Spectrum vans donated by a local Thule rep, and a "nice enough arrangement" of lift tickets from Bolton Valley. In recent weeks, individuals have also dropped by to donate helmets, gloves and goggles for the kids.

Though Redmond insists he has nothing against the people at Chill personally, he says he couldn't in good conscience allow his kids to ride Burton equipment this year due to the company's insensitivity over the issues of pornography and self-mutilation. And thus far, Redmond says he's received "tons" of letters, phone calls and emails from adults and kids who support Spectrum's stance on the issue.

"The outpouring of support has been unbelievable," Redmond tells Seven Days. "It's a nice story about the goodness of the people of Vermont who don't want to see these kids lose out."

Great. Now, could the Spectrum people please keep their kids from swearing loudly on Church Street? Or is that "freedom of expression"?

Great, but who is going to donate their time in order to teach the kids how to ride? Week in and week out and help these kids learn a new sport/skill and gain self-confidence? Chill doesn't just throw product at the kids and say "have fun". Burton employees volunteer to help teach the kids to shred.

Teacher, thanks for pointing out an omission on my part. According to Mark Redmond at Spectrum, an unnamed spouse of a Burton employee felt bad about Burton's position on this controversy and volunteered his or her time to teach the kids to snowboard. So, no one will just be letting the kids loose on the slopes and saying " have fun." A seasoned rider will be there each week to show them the way. Let's hope that teacher is board-certified...

BTW, Goose and Gander, best of luck figuring out a way to get ANY teens from swearing in public. The Spectrum kids are like any kids who hang out at the mall: They do their own thing.

This was a HUGE OVER reaction on Mark Redmond's part. These boards are not very common. The outside possibility that Spectrum kids might see an offensive board was no excuse for removing the kids from the program. By doing that only the kids suffered. It would have been reasonable that Mr Redmond would request g-rated gear, and shared his opinion but I do not understand the inclination toward righteous indignation.
I went on a little investigation to see what these boards even looked like and after going into 5 different stores, I was told that they are only sold at the Burton flagship store and only by special order. I would have to get in touch with one specific person in order to even see what one of these boards looked like. Let me tell you! I gave up! It is so hard to see even when you want to, it is not as though there is any danger of them becoming the newest fashion!
Our job as adults is not to shield teenagers from things that we think are tasteless. It is to teach them what the issues are, and how to think for themselves. Overbearing paternalism accomplishes nothing!

These boards are not very common? The kids are not likely to see them? Well, go take a walk by Maven on Cherry Street in downtown Burlington. They have a nice pornographic window display, complete with a collage of Playboy cutouts, and of course, the Burton boards.

Here's a link:

I can't wait to see their self-mutilation display.

Burton has the freedom of "artistic" expression, and I use that term loosely, but Mark Redmond was right to stand up for his principles and I am glad that the community is supporting that.

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