Vail Valley Voices: Great winter for SOS |

Vail Valley Voices: Great winter for SOS

Arn Menconi
Vail, CO, Colorado

As we at SOS Outreach close out the winter season and look back on the last few months, it’s hard not to smile.

Despite the limited snowfall, SOS had an incredibly fun and successful winter. Of the 18 seasons SOS has been getting kids on the mountain, this was one of the most fulfilling.

More than 570 youth in Eagle County alone participated in either the five-day Learn to Ride program or the multi-year University program, with more than 2,500 kids participating in winter sports programs nationally at 43 ski resorts.

SOS held more than 10,000 days of winter programming nationally and 3,000 days locally. This would not have been possible in Eagle County without 40 mentors, 25 teachers coordinators, 20 Vail and Beaver Creek ski instructors, countless rental shop staff and 25 SOS volunteers.

We wouldn’t be the strong, progressive organization we are today without the constant support we have always received from this community and countless others.

We would like to send a special thank-you out to the many individuals and companies that make our programs possible. I cannot express enough gratitude to an incredibly dedicated staff, especially the 12 AmeriCorps members who serve our country through a deep conviction to service.

We have an incredibly supportive board of directors, and an amazing crew of volunteers, teachers, instructors and mentors. Everyone involved commits their time and energy to make sure that each SOS participant has a great experience on and off the hill, and has the tools to make positive decisions in their lives, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

A special thank you goes out to Vail Resorts Echo for providing passes, lift tickets, and lunch vouchers to get SOS kids on the hill, and K2 for their significant monetary and in-kind donations.

SOS summer outdoor programs will provide an entirely new set of opportunities for youth. We have an array of summer programs available that will introduce kids to the natural world through different outdoor adventure sports like backpacking, rock-climbing, and camping, as well as introduce them to a leadership and character development curriculum.

In addition, SOS is expanding experiences for youth globally. In less than 100 days, 20 of SOS most advanced students will be part of a cultural diversity program with a trip to the London Summer Olympics made possible by K2 Sports Inc.

We truly appreciate the effort and thought of everyone this past season and can’t wait to see where we can go from here.

Arn Menconi is the founder and executive director of SOS Outreach.