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Dec 6 Parent Session: Supporting Teens
November 16, 2023
Jenny White


Mental health, changes in the adolescent brain, and ways to support the teenagers in our lives

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Backcountry Store, 33 South Bozeman Ave.


We'll cover the basics every parent or guardian should know about the mental health of teenagers including: changes to the adolescent brain, ways to better support our teens, mental health resources, and how to recognize difficult challenges our youth may face. 

Open to all BSF & BYEP parents, guardians and staff. (Even if your kids aren’t “teens” yet, you’re welcome to join and learn!) Light refreshments will be served.

Introduction by John Padilla: After losing his 15-year-old brother, Jack, to suicide, John created Mountain in My Mind in an effort to destigmatize mental health in the ski industry. Mountain in My Mind is an annual film series featuring professional skiers and snowboarders sharing their mental health experiences. They’re part ski film and part educational – talking to skiers who have struggled with mental health issues. (John's films are available to view in full on Youtube.)

Featured Speaker: Emily Danza was an athlete and Alpine ski coach at both the club level with BSF and then at the collegiate level before becoming a well-respected sports and performance consultant and clinical therapist working with organizations such as the Colorado Rapids. For the second year in a row, Emily will work with BSF to help our athletes and coaches thrive and will be available for questions and concerns.


As one of our communities oldest and largest nonprofits serving youth, Bridger Ski Foundation is leaning into our community's mental health crisis. As we enter year two of BSF’s mental health initiative, we are continuing to provide educational resources that reach BSF parents, athletes, and coaches. 

Mental health initiative goal: Holistically incorporate mental health and wellness into ski programming by equipping middle and high school athletes, coaches, and parents with the tools, skills and resources to decrease stress and anxiety and increase confidence and performance in all areas of life.

This initiative includes: 

  • Professional training for our coaching staff–providing more tools to recognize mental health warning signs, as well as tools specific to sports psychology. 
  • A mental health professional on retainer who will provide resources, answer questions, and also work with individual teams on everything from every day mental health to preparing for competition. 
  • Additional sessions, including mindfulness and nutrition training for our athletes.
  • Resources for parents and community members, including the session above. We’ll also be developing an online toolkit for all to access. 

BSF’s mental health initiative is made possible by the generous support of AMB West Community Fund and FICO. 


“I have so much to say about bringing awareness to mental health challenges that our youth face. They may have a friend, a parent, teammate, a sibling or they, themselves may be struggling to put words to their emotions. It’s isolating. The BSF mental health awareness night at Backcountry took a very hard topic of mental health and put true experts in front of our eager and supportive community. I learned there are resources and a community willing to talk and support without judgement. As a mom of a teen who has had two in-patient stays due to suicide attempts I was so afraid of judgment. I didn’t say a word during the interactive session and yet felt so supported and learned about additional resources. BSF is an organization that touches lives on and off the snow and they have the qualified and dedicated support system that everyone in our community can benefit from.
In our beautiful mountain community we need to address that shiny on the outside doesn’t mean glistening on the inside.”

“As a parent of two teenage competitive skiers, I found the talk about mental health and the teenage brain extremely helpful.  I think as parents, we often think we’re being supportive of our children, or try our best to be, but our efforts can sometimes have the opposite effect. Learning about how the teenage brain works and how best to support our kids gave me a better understanding of my kids and provided me with skills to help support them.”