SOS kicks off new season |

SOS kicks off new season

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySOS Outreach kicked off its 18th season this weekend by getting 362 young people out skiing and snowboarding at seven different resorts in Colorado.

AVON, Colorado – SOS Outreach, an outdoor sports and youth development nonprofit, kicked off its 18th season this weekend by getting 362 “underserved” youth out skiing and snowboarding at seven different resorts all over the state. One hundred forty one of those kids were from Eagle County.

Before riding at Beaver Creek on Friday, youth from New America High School in Gypsum shared their definition of the “core value of the day,” courage.

“It took courage for me to leave my family to come here,” said Ellier Granillo, who recently moved to Colorado from Mexico.

New America High School is one of several schools in the area that SOS works with. The school functions as a second language immersion for students from all over the world. Around 80 percent of the students enrolled in the school live on their own and support themselves.

SOS works to build character in at-risk youth by using winter and summer adventure sports as a medium to instill the SOS “core values”: courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom and compassion. These values serve as a foundation for all SOS programs.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Youth participating in SOS programs are often “underserved” in that they come from low-income families, single-parent households, may be involved in the court system or are demonstrating poor academic achievement. SOS tries to combat the everyday problems these kids are facing by providing programs that enhance their self-esteem and provide them with opportunities to become leaders in their own communities. By using outdoor activity as an incentive, SOS teaches life skills kids can use on and off the slopes.

This year SOS, aims to serve 5,000 youth in 15 states and New Zealand.

“We’ve come a long way from serving just Colorado youth through one-day snow sports,” said Arn Menconi, executive director and founder of SOS. “Not only do we offer summer programs, but these youth can choose to stay involved in our programs for multiple years now. We have kids who joined our programs at 8, graduated and came back to be adult mentors to new youth. It really shows the impact that our programs have.”

This weekend’s Colorado programs were made possible by donations from:

• Vail Resorts Echo Program (Breckinridge Ski Resort, Vail Ski Resort, Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Keystone Ski Resort).

• Eldora Mountain Resort.

• Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area.

• Loveland Ski Area.

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