Year-round learning in Eagle County
Ryan Summerlin June 19, 2013
AVON — For many in the Vail Valley, summer means a season of outdoor adventures, as the hills come alive with cyclists, hikers and climbers. SOS Outreach is a youth development nonprofit that ensures those experiences are extended to underserved youth in our community. Using outdoor sports as a tool to engage participants, SOS inspires students to make positive decisions for healthy and successful lives.
Expanding from winter-based experiences, SOS now offers a year-round sports-based leadership development curriculum. With more than 1,000 students enrolled in summer programming, 200 of which are from Eagle County’s year-round curriculum, this summer will be SOS’ most impactful yet.
Summer programs will officially launch in Eagle County this week with an “Intro to Camping” experience for 14 students. The program will teach participants outdoor recreation skills including Leave No Trace principles, outdoor cooking and basic wilderness safety. Throughout the three-day base camp trip, program staff will also reinforce the core value training from the winter curriculum, discussing the meanings and applications of courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion and humility.
This week’s program is the first of many trips SOS has scheduled for the summer. Additional experiences will include backpacking, rock climbing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, mountain biking and hiking. Throughout all these trips participants will be exposed to continuous core value training and the benefits of positive adult mentorship.
In addition, Eagle County participants will complete approximately 650 hours of community service this summer, as they learn to give back to the community. Projects include everything from trail cleanups to representing SOS at events.
This year marks the final transition from seasonal programs to a seamless year-round curriculum. Starting last fall, participants registered for a complete year of programming, including 30 days of outdoor adventure sports, leadership development and service learning. From now on, Eagle participants will be required to complete both winter and summer activities in order to continue into the next year of the program. This fulfills SOS’ long-term goal of increasing positive touch points with youth, maximizing the positive impacts of the curriculum.
SOS Outreach is a national youth development nonprofit which utilizes adventure sports to engage at-risk students in long-term mentorship relationships. The SOS curriculum encourages responsibility, self-confidence, service and leadership skills by instilling five core values: courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom and compassion. Since 1993, it has inspired positive decision making for healthy and successful lives.