SOS retains high rate of snowboarders |

SOS retains high rate of snowboarders

The Snowboard Outreach Society, a nonprofit group that works with over 1,200 at-risk youth each winter season at 28 resorts nationally, has a 74 percent retention rate of program participants to snowboarding, according to a new survey.

The survey was designed to determine the success of SOS’s programs in relation to what percentages of students continue in the sport.

SOS was founded in 1993 by Executive Director Arn Menconi. The organization and its programs were created as a method of reaching at-risk youth and introducing minority and economically challenged individuals to the snow sport culture. SOS aims to create healthy, self confident and community minded youth through programs focused on developing resiliency and protective factors, the group said.

“The National Ski Areas Association’s Model for Growth states that as an industry, we convert only about 15 percent of first-timers into long-term participants,” said Anne Menconi, director of youth programs. “However, over 98 percent of youth that joined our programs were beginners, and due to high touch points and a two-month introduction to the sport, SOS has experienced a 74 percent retention or conversion rate to the sport. We were also excited to find that almost half of our students had taken the initiative to introduced family or friends to the sport of snowboarding.”

The students who have continued to snowboard after going through SOS’s beginner program return to a mountain to participate in snowboarding an average of seven days per season.

These results significantly emphasize the need for more programs like SOS, Menconi said. SOS has the highest retention rate in the nation for beginners.

SOS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving and inspiring youth. SOS teaches core values, provides adult mentorship and creates community outreach opportunities through adventure sports. Starting its 10th season, SOS will work with 1,200 youth with risks at 28 ski resorts.

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