SOS expands education beyond Vail Valley |

SOS expands education beyond Vail Valley

Michelle Hartel
Vail Daily community correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyRock climbing is a favorite of many students on SOS Outreach's trip to the Colorado National Monument

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –This spring, SOS Outreach has taken 200 fourth graders from six Vail Valley schools to on outdoor adventures at Colorado National Monument in Fruita.

Rock climbing, hiking, camping – activities most of us enjoy regularly here in the mountains – are not always accessible to young people of Eagle County. Fourth Grade Monument trips began decades ago as an extension of the classroom and for many of these youth, this is their first time participating in these activities.

Experiences range from learning how to work with a team to prepare meals while camping to learning how to properly use the bathroom in the woods.

“The knowledge passed on to the students during the hike, climb and nature walk will never be forgotten”, said Dana Maurer, parent of an Edwards Elementary School fourth grader and volunteer chaperone for the trip.

The students visited area museums, scaled a 40-foot tall rock face and sang the “Wadily-atcha.” And the interpersonal skill development that takes place on these trips is brought back into the students every day lives.

Sally, a fourth grade student at Stone Creek Charter School, said, “On my fourth grade Monument trip I learned that teamwork means to work together with my classmates and that it will get me someplace in life.”

SOS Outreach instructors integrate teamwork, leadership, and communication, and Maurer explains the program also fosters respect and compassion.

SOS Outreach partners with Avon Elementary School, Edwards Elementary School, June Creek Elementary School, Stone Creek Charter School, St. Clare of Assisi and Stone Creek Charter School for fourth grade Monument Trips.

Upcoming summer activities include rock climbing for 8 to 16 year olds and wilderness backpacking programs for 12 to 18 year olds. Visit or call 970-926-9292 for more information and to register for summer programs.

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