Reaching out to tomorrow’s skiers
Ryan Summerlin January 29, 2012
Editor’s note: Arn Menconi, executive director of Avon-based youth nonprofit SOS Outreach, is on the road attending various ski and snowboard industry trade shows and conferences. He’ll be sending periodic dispatches from the events, telling readers what’s new and interesting in the world of snowsports. This dispatch comes from the Snowsports Industries America Snow Show in Denver.
DENVER, Colorado – Day 3 of the SIA Snow Show provided a space for the industry to highlight what it is doing to introduce youth to the outdoors. In partnership with nonprofit organizations nationally, thousands of kids are being impacted through snowsports. The day started with the Active Youth Alliance Summit in the Convention Center lobby.
Twenty youth from SOS Outreach came to the SIA trade show to be part of the Active Youth Alliance summit. Students in SOS’s long-term University program spoke about how they have gotten more involved in their communities and developed leadership through SOS programs. It all starts with engagement in the outdoors. With all Active Youth Alliance members, the activity is just the hook to positive life impacts.
Mary Jo Tarallo, of National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, highlighted the vital importance of industry connection to the next generation of skiers and riders.
“The more outreach we do now, the healthier the industry will be tomorrow,” Tarallo said.
Other speakers included SIA President David Ingemie, as well as President and CEO of K2 Sports Anthony De Rocco, who presented SOS Outreach with a $25,000 check to show K2’s support for programs that get youth outdoors. De Rocco recognized the unique ability of winter sports to turn kids into lifelong outdoor enthusiasts and thanked SOS and AYA for the work they are doing in this effort.
The organizations in the group, working together under the name Active Youth Alliance, collectively reach almost 50,000 youth across more than 80 mountain resorts through various outdoor programs. Their mission is to get 1 million kids outdoors over the next 10 years, the estimated number of new skiers and snowboarders the sport needs to prevent a decline. Those represented in the Alliance include summer and winter programs and span the entire nation. The goal of the Alliance is to work together for awareness, apply for grants and rally for industry support with their combined voice.