SOS Youth Complete Winter Season of Snow Sports, Volunteering and Leadership Training

Across the country at 13 locations this past month, more than 500 SOS youth graduated from University, our intensive four-year program, marking the end of another successful season. The adult mentors and SOS staff who worked with these kids over the past few months got to see the students talk about what they’d learned and recognized for their achievements.

Those include not only completing a season of snowboarding and skiing, but various service projects, leadership trainings and building relationships with their fellow SOS participants and adult mentors. Graduates ranged from those completing their first year in the program to those graduating from their final year in the program.

Here’s what a couple graduation attendees had to say:

  • “You really get a sense of the sheer size and scope of the program and the number of kids touched by SOS&hellipjust in Eagle County. The other piece that really hit me was the number of kids SOS has come back year, after year, after year&hellip. It’s a real testament to the quality and impact of the program.” – SOS board member and Pilot Ad-visors partner Rick Smith, after seeing almost 170 Eagle County youth graduate from the University program.
  • “It was amazing to see what the participants had to say about one another. Their mentors, also known as Sherpas, gave (the students) high remarks for learning the core values and utilizing them on and off the hill.” – SOS Front Range Programs Manager Brian Phipps on seeing 102 Denver/Monarch-area youth graduate from University programs.
  • “Through SOS, I’ve learned a lot of respect for other people’s situations, and I’ve learned to be an important part of the community. I know a lot of people don’t have the amazing opportunities that I get. SOS has given me many of those opportunities, so now I’m ready to start giving back and helping out.” — Participant Nick Tafoya, 17, who recently graduated from his final year in University and plans to return to SOS as a Jr. Sherpa (junior mentor)
  • “It’s been great this season to see the University program expand to some new agencies and we’ve been able to do it with some great new sponsors, like Whole Foods. Now we’re looking forward to the first season of summer programs in the Northwest.” – Pacific Northwest Program Manager Rob Rumrill

Join Us for the Following Events:


Teva Mountain Games: Volunteer

When: June 2-5
Where: Vail, CO
What: The 2011 Teva Mountain Games in Vail is a four-day event that includes outdoor sport competitions like, kayaking, mountain biking, climbing and fishing, as well as other events and activities focused on athletes and spectators alike. SOS will have a booth in Gear Town in Vail Village and will need volunteers. If you are interested in helping out please call the Avon office: 970.926.9292 ext. 108.

SOS Charity Bike Ride
When: Saturday, July 23
Where: Avon, CO
What: The 2011 Comcast Colorado Eagle River Ride is a charity bike event benefiting SOS Outreach.This classic tour starts at Beaver Creek and brings riders along the scenic banks of the Colorado and Eagle rivers. Riders can choose from 100 mile, 68 mile and 42 mile routes on great roads. The ride is fully supported and offers spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, making it one of the don’t-miss century rides in Colorado. For more information or to register visit the SOS website.

SOS Kids Lend a Hand in the Community

SOS kids are often seen out on the slopes, skiing and snowboarding, but they also can be found volunteering in their local communities.

As a part of the four-year, intensive University program, students participate in community service projects. They become increasingly involved each year, and the program culminates with the kids not only having completed several projects in the community, but having created their own advocacy project on an issue of their choice.

  • “At SOS, we believe that an integral part of leadership training is giving back to the community,” said SOS Executive Director Arn Menconi. “Every time I see these kids practicing courage, discipline, wisdom, integrity and compassion in the community, I think it makes (us adults) better people.”

This winter SOS University youth helped ring bells for the Salvation Army, participated in community clean-ups, delivered food baskets during the holidays, and helped restore river banks. Check out some of the projects youth have been working on lately across the country.

Lake Tahoe
Students completed service projects with the South Lake Tahoe Library, The American Red Cross of Northern Nevada, and most recently the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.

Seattle/Pacific Northwest
Throughout the season, University students in the Pacific Northwest have been working on a variety of projects, including packing food for hungry families at Food Lifeline in Shoreline, Washington and helping clean up the facilities at the Northwest African American Museum.

This spring as the weather has warmed, kids are turning their efforts outdoors. Over the season youth have done three different service projects with Green Seattle to do restoration projects at Seattle Parks. Most recently at the end of April, seven students helped clean up a local skate park.

Denver/Front Range
On June 11, SOS youth will be teaching other kids about outdoor ethics, wildlife tracking and GPS navigation as part of National Get Outdoors Day.

In preparation for both National Get Outdoors Day and an upcoming wilderness trip, 26 youth and their adult mentors participated in a Leave No Trace training day that included setting up tents, making bear bags, and digging bathroom holes.
The kids will be volunteering at the Junior Ranger station at City Park, and not only be able to share their newly learned outdoor expertise, but earn a “Junior Ranger badge” for all their work.

Eagle County
In April, despite some chilly spring weather, nine University students spent a Saturday restoring a river bank. They volunteered with the Eagle River Watershed Council by planting willows in the Edwards Eagle River Restoration Project. The students planted about 400 willow stakes at two locations along the river bank, which will help restore the erosion and bring them back to their original state.

Also, a few weeks ago students helped weed and clear a garden for River Round Up Ranch, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. The Ranch is set to open with new facilities this summer, and SOS kids spent the afternoon preparing the camp’s garden, where the ranch’s campers will plant and maintain a vegetable garden during the summer.

Summit County
About 20 kids volunteered at the Swan Center Outreach outside of Silverthorne, Colo., in April. The Swan Center cares for and rehabilitates previously neglected and abused animals, and on that particular day, SOS kids helped with the horse rehabilitation program, working both with the animals and doing maintenance around the facility.

Contact SOS Outreach
910 Nottingham Rd, N-12
PO Box 2020
Avon, CO 81620
970.926.9292 p 970.926.7739 f
sos@sosoutreach.org

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