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Eagle County nonprofits are participating in statewide philanthropic event

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Designed for children from Eagle County, Small Champions strives to introduce a wide variety of sports and recreation activities to each of its participants.
Special to the Daily |

Editor’s note: The Vail Daily is running profiles of local nonprofits that are participating in Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 9. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. And for the first time ever, it features a $1 million incentive fund created by the partners. Donate online at http://www.Colorado Gives.org or schedule your donation in advance.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is a nonprofit organization. Founded in 1962 to provide training and competition programs for aspiring young ski racers, SSCV is one of the Vail Valley’s oldest nonprofits. Today, the organization remains true to its roots by instilling values of character, courage and commitment in more than 500 kids who participate in its on-snow winter sports programs each year. Programs are available in alpine, freeskiing, Freestyle, Nordic and snowboarding for all ages, abilities and interests.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail had a great deal to celebrate this past spring having been awarded United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) Club of the Year, Alpine Club of the Year, Freeskiing Club of the Year, Freestyle Club of the Year and Snowboard Club of the Year! This is an unprecedented accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the athletes, families, coaches, supporters and board of trustees. This extraordinary year, which also saw 12 SSCV athletes in Sochi, has been made possible by the support of donors.

Small Champions

Small Champions is a sports and recreation program for qualifying children ages 5 through 21 with cognitive, physical and multiple disabilities. A Small Champion may be intellectually bright and active, but may be limited in their physical mobility or communication skills. Other children have sound bodies but have significant cognitive challenges resulting in mild, moderate, severe or profound developmental delays.

Small Champions’ belief is that each individual deserves the best quality of life possible. Small Champions was created solely to give Eagle County children the opportunity to pursue all of their dreams and goals and instill in them the growth, confidence and determination that will set the direction for their entire lives.

With the sports programs it creates an interactive, stimulating and safe environment in which participants can learn new skills, gain confidence and develop lasting relationships with their instructors, counselors and fellow participants.

Designed for children from Eagle County, Small Champions strives to introduce a wide variety of sports and recreation activities to each of its participants. Small Champion participants are only able to experience the thrill of learning these sports with specialized equipment and instruction. Children work one-on-one with an instructor specially trained in adaptive teaching techniques and equipment to accommodate a wide variety of disabilities. We provide programs that would otherwise be unavailable to these children without significant cost to their families.

Small Champions programs provide an opportunity for these special children to be part of a group that meets often to enjoy sports and recreation, grow, learn and have fun. It is very important for the Small Champions to have a peer group and for their families to forge friendships enabling them to help each other. No other program exists in the Eagle Valley to provide these services for these children.

SOS Outreach

SOS is a youth development nonprofit that inspires positive decision making in at-risk youth to inspire healthy and successful futures. SOS has served over 40,000 at-risk youth during the past 20 years, teaching them core values and introducing them to new sports like skiing, snowboarding and rock climbing.

Students might speak English as a second language or have been previously involved with the court system. They might be from low-income backgrounds or be struggling in school. These factors, among others, put SOS students at risk of dropping out of high school. They are not the students you would expect to see encouraging each other on the mountain or earnestly discussing complex values like integrity and compassion. You would not expect to see many of them on the slopes at all.

SOS serves over 500 Vail Valley youth every winter. As they learn the basics of boarding, they are mentored by positive adult volunteers. Mentors pair each day of snowboarding instruction with an in-depth discussion of one of SOS’s core values (courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion and humility). Starting with courage as students overcome their fears of heights and new, unknown activities, these discussions help students build connections between the sports, the core values and their daily lives. As long-term participant David Garcia said, “SOS has made me a better person. I’m more rooted to their values which are now mine.”

SOS’s positive influences don’t end on the hill. Mentors and students attend leadership and life skills workshops together and participate in community service projects. These elements help build a healthier Vail Valley community overall.


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