SOS participants visit Olympic Training Center
May 21, 2012
AVON, Colorado – Twenty SOS Outreach participants will experience the opportunity of a lifetime as they travel to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The students began their adventure with a trip to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs on May 12 where they toured the facilities and got a glimpse of the premier athleticism and commitment to excellence they will be experiencing at the Olympics.
These youth have been given this opportunity by the Global Sports Development Playmakers program, an initiative that encourages today’s youth to be the leaders of tomorrow by taking action to improve themselves and their communities. Many of the students served by SOS come from low-income families and minority backgrounds, and would not otherwise have the opportunity to travel and experience an international event like the Summer Olympics. The trip will include meeting U.S. Olympic athletes, attending cultural events, sight-seeing and of course, watching the games – all experiences that SOS and Global Sports Development hope will inspire these youth to realize their potential and their ability to change the world.
The trip to the training center brought together the students from Eagle County, Summit County and Denver who will all be traveling to London together. They were then led on a tour of the facilities by a resident athlete who will be competing in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. Their guide gave them insights into what the daily lives of Olympic athletes are like, from the strict training regiments, to the careful diets, to the recovery needed to keep their bodies in prime physical condition.
“We are delighted to work with SOS,” said Steven Ungerleider of Global Sports Development. “SOS is one of the most organized youth and mentorship groups we have known in the past 15 years. I’m so encouraged by all the prep work these kids have done, including reading about gender equality, fair play, respect for coaches and drug-free sports. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.”
SOS is a national nonprofit organization based in Avon that encourages underserved youth to become involved in leadership development programs through outdoor adventure sports. SOS programs are a natural match with Global Sports Development’s goals to encourage youth to become leaders in their communities through various sports-based initiatives.
“This trip will provide the highest level of leadership training to youth within our programs,” said SOS Youth Programs Director Theresa Papandrea, “Such an experience will further develop a group of young leaders within the community.”
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Upon returning from London, students are asked to give presentations about what they’ve learned from the games.
The students range in age from 13-17 and are from SOS Colorado’s Denver, Eagle County, Summit County and Durango programs. All the kids have been involved in SOS’s leadership programs for four to six years and have demonstrated excellent leadership within their communities.
“One dream I plan to accomplish in my life is to travel around the world,” said Jackie Luevano, of Denver, one of the students going on the trip. “Meeting new friends from around the world can teach me how to be a better, stronger person in the future.”