Spotlight on SOS Outreach
Winter is coming. At evo, there are few things that get us as stoked as the excitement we feel when we make our first journey of the season to do what we love to do most – smile ear-to-ear grins while sliding around on fresh snow.
When an organization that’s passionate about giving back to kids shares these same feelings, we know we’ve met our match in the best possible way. SOS Outreach – a youth development nonprofit based out of Colorado – is just that type of organization, and we couldn’t be more excited to share a bit about their awesome cause and how we plan to partner with them in the coming months.
Headquartered in Eagle County, Colorado with eight additional program sites across Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon, and Washington, SOS Outreach introduces underserved youth to the great outdoors through a progressive, year-round leadership development curriculum. Through a continuum of programs, kids aged 8 to 18 get to rock climb, embark on their first backpacking trips, and learn how to conquer the steeps on a snowboard. They also get involved in their communities, volunteering for service projects like stocking shelves at local food banks, preparing and delivering holiday meals, and bell ringing for the Salvation Army.
Even more unique is SOS Outreach’s University Program that pairs students with mentors who support them through a four-year leadership development program. In this supportive environment, kids complete service learning and life skills workshops, all while pursuing their passion for winter sports. In the first year, students complete three service learning days and participate in five on-mountain riding days. By the end of the fourth year, students have become engaged community representatives while also continuing to participate in action sports. The University Program has such a profound impact on its participants that many youth go on to complete the SOS Masters Programs with the intention of helping others achieve the very same levels of success.
It might seem self-evident, but low income and minority youth in the United States continually rank as the least represented demographic outdoors. With their focus on low-cost participation, SOS is a national leader in helping to reverse that statistic and promote long-term success for its participants. It’s a common saying in the world of outdoor adventure that “where we live affects how we live.” In the communities that SOS works with, that’s no longer true. SOS really does fight for every child’s right to play.
Initiatives like SOS Outreach’s University Program can make a big difference in the lives of kids who might not otherwise experience the positive benefits of outdoor exploration. As one 18-year-old graduate of the Program shared, “I’ve been involved with SOS Outreach since I was in sixth grade. I first joined SOS because it sounded like an amazing opportunity, almost too good to be true. After the Learn to Ride program I couldn’t get enough. I continued into the University Program and loved it. I found myself inspired, learning to snowboard and overcome obstacles side-by-side with my friends. I went up to the mountain as often as I could and constantly pushed myself to be better.”
At evo, we pride ourselves on leveraging our success to help young people achieve their full potential, and we couldn’t be more inspired by SOS Outreach. This fall, we’re looking forward to partnering with SOS in our new backyard– the Denver metro area—and beyond. From volunteering for their awesome initiatives in Denver and the Pacific Northwest, to hosting students for job shadow days, to matching donations to their cause this fall, we can’t wait to get involved and share the stoke we all feel when it comes to spending time in the mountains and fostering community at the very same time.
Want to learn more and get involved in supporting SOS Outreach? Visit their website, or check out the evo Cause page for updates about how we plan to partner with SOS and other amazing organizations in the coming months.
We’re evo: We believe all young people deserve the opportunity to discover their passions and achieve their full potential. We invest in programs and partnerships that help kids build positive skills and mindsets in the communities where we live, work, and play.