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December 6, 2007 — SOS Outreach, formerly the Snowboard Outreach Society, kicks off its 14th season this weekend with a launch on Vail Mountain Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 a.m.
U.S. Senator Ken Salazar will recognize SOS Outreach for being a leader in sports-based youth development that builds character and self-esteem in youth through skiing and snowboarding.
After 13 years of teaching snowboarding to youth who may not otherwise have an opportunity to experience the mountains, SOS is expanding into skiing. This year, SOS Outreach is serving over 3,000 youth at 30 mountain resorts in eight states around the country. They will provide more than 90 sessions during the 07-08 season, with over 15,000 program days. Six hundred volunteers support programs nationwide to create an adult-to-youth ratio of 1 to 2.5.
Senator Salazar supports youth development through status as a top wintersports playground and is planning on acknowledging the collaboration between ski resorts and manufacturers to leverage opportunities for youths in need.
“This season we will experience 100 percent growth and we’re very honored that Senator Salazar believes in our cause. We hope this brings attention to the power that wintersports industry plays in making a positive impact in kids’ lives,” SOS Outreach Executive Director Arn Menconi said.
In addition, Bill Jensen, President of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division and Chairman of the National Ski Areas Association, will be receiving SOS’s Humanitarian of the Year Award.
SOS Outreach mentors and teaches disadvantaged and underprivileged youth through three programs: Learn To Ride (LTR), the University Program, and the Diversity Program.
The LTR program features five days, where the youth receive professional on-snow instruction and are provided with complimentary snowsports gear. The LTR program focuses on one of the five core values each day: Courage, Discipline, Integrity, Wisdom and Compassion. Twenty-five LTR youth from Eagle County will be participating in the launch on Saturday.
The University program is part of a four-year curriculum which incorporates community service and life skills workshops. The youth also have mentors, known as Sherpas, who help them set and achieve personal goals.
Approximately 25 youth participating in the Vail Resorts Diversity program from Kepner Middle School in Denver will join 75 University youth and 25 Learn to Ride youth from Eagle County to be present for the launch at Vail Mountain. The Diversity program is spearheaded by Vail Resorts to introduce Denver and mountain participants to the mountains. The Company identified SOS to be an administrator of their ongoing diversity effort. SOS incorporates a core value curriculum and long-term focus.
The SOS launch will take place at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be located on the snow, east side of the Eagle’s Nest deck and Adventure Ridge.
For more information, to donate or to volunteer, call (970) 926-9292 or visit www.sosoutreach.org.
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