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Shawn Palmer and Jim Rippey, two of the biggest names in snowboarding, are volunteers for the American camp CARE program, as are pro riders Megan Pischke, Terry Dakides, Jason Brown, Barrett Christy, Jason Chatfield and a host of others.

"I've been in the ski and then snowboard industry for a long time," says Landau. "I got to know a lot of the big professional athletes over the years, so it was easy to get in touch with them. Snowboarding has grown so fast and has become so good for these guys that they were excited for the opportunity to give something back.

"A lot of these guys have seen the other side of life as well — they haven't always been superstars. A lot of them had hard childhoods and felt bad about themselves until they were lucky enough to catch onto snowboarding. They're young, they're awesome riders and great role models for kids who don't have a father or mother around to look up to."

This year there will be four camps in the U.S. and two in Canada: one for second-year American campers at Whistler-Blackcomb Jan. 22-23, and the first-ever camp for Canadian kids at Mount Seymour Feb. 8-14. First-year camps are 5-6 days long and second- and third-year camps take place over a weekend.

"We're going to try to get some more Canadian camps going next year. The response from kids and volunteers has been so overwhelming," says Landau.

"It's a small thing, but it comes from the heart. We've seen it turn a child's life around in the week that we're with them. We've seen what the camps can do for the kids, and that's why people believe in the program."

Among the Canadian pro riders volunteering for the program are Derek Heidt, Devun Walsh, Kevin Sansalone, Shin Campos, Shandy Campos, Marc Morisset, Allan Clark, Kevin Young, Risto Scott, Dennis Bannock, Jamie Parker and Rob Dow.

In addition to the pros, the camp CARE team is made up of a strong group of Whistler locals, including Marc-Andre Tart, Josh Smith, Ben Davies, Sarah Fennell, Caine Heintzman, Andy Cantelon, Danielle Piche, Jibber Godboot, Chewy Cousins, Jeremy Shelford, Andrew Payne and Oliver Roy.

"It's just a good idea to get these kids out of the city and snowboarding," says Shin Campos. "Growing up, my parents did some foster parenting and ran a group home, so in a way, I've always been around underprivileged, unwanted kids. It's really a positive thing."

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