SOS Outreach and Its Children’s Programs
A special message from Uta:
To be surrounded by snow and brilliant blue skies while kids race down the beautiful Colorado slopes, their scarves flying, their faces lit with joy and flushed with exercise — this makes SOS Outreach very close to my heart. And now that the organization provides children with summer programs as well, like camping, hiking, and mountain biking, I applaud their vision for the youngsters. I love skiing in the beautiful winters and running in the warm summers in Colorado. Bringing this healthy lifestyle to kids from underserved communities makes SOS very special.
We first discovered SOS through the Colorado River Ride in 2007. Here was this great non-profit that was providing after-school athletic activities like snowboarding and skiing to build character and self-esteem in young people from underserved communities.
The next year we found out more about their programs — and we knew that this was something that we, as the Take The Magic Step team, should support. And we have been so happy to see this nonprofit grow over the years!
SOS believes in many of the same principles as Take The Magic Step. The organization uses playful exercise in a team setting to help young people accelerate their learning and social skills; it is a leadership program to improve their chances to succeed in their lives. What could be better? Kids playing outdoors, being healthy — and learning at the same time! We share their love of playful exercise!
Come and join us for a great time together with the children of SOS Outreach!
About SOS Outreach
Take The Magic Step Foundation is happy to call SOS Outreach (“SOS”) our charity partner! SOS Outreach began as the Snowboard Outreach Society in 1993 to introduce underserved youth to the mountains through snowboarding. Now, more than 25 years later, SOS has grown in numbers, expanded across many different winter and summer sports, and incorporated a youth development, leadership training, and adult mentorship curriculum into its programs.
SOS offers outdoor activities including snowboarding, skiing, backpacking, camping, hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Each of these adventure sports is designed to foster self-confidence and self-respect, cultivate life skills, and demonstrate to students the importance of giving back to the community.
SOS Outreach bases its programs on the theory that participants can effectively connect learned skills in nature and outdoor sports to their own lives. As a part of the program, youth are mentored by adult volunteers from the community who help participants understand and practice the SOS core values (courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility), give back to the community, and learn values-based leadership skills.
During the 2021/22 winter season SOS served 2900 underserved youth for 65,145 total program hours. The year prior, SOS successfully launched a pilot program called Career Development Pipeline—a unique program that connects SOS high school students and program alumni to create paid summer internships in the outdoor industry.
SOS’ target population includes underserved youth aged 8-18 who face a variety of risk factors, including low-income backgrounds, English as a second language, single-parent households, low self-esteem, and lack of physical activity.
SOS saw the following demographic breakdown of youth across all programs:
- 64% of participants self-identify as an ethnic minority.
- 75% of participants reported having a household income of less than $40,000 per year.
- 66% of participants qualified for free/reduced school lunch.
- 39% of youth speak English as a second language.
- 21% of participants presented mental health concerns including depression or anxiety.
- Gender: 56% Male, 43% Female, 1% Genderqueer/Non-binary
Each SOS participant is given the opportunity to learn how to make better choices and live a more productive life through a series of courses that reflect SOS’s extensive research in recreation, coaching, character education, adult mentorship, civic & community engagement, and leadership & vocational skills training. The overall goal of these courses is to increase self-esteem and positive participation within the community while introducing healthy lifestyle choices.
Evaluation results demonstrate that SOS’s curriculum provides participants the guidance, love, and structure needed to empower them to be more self-sufficient and responsible members of their communities. 96% of participants not only want to stay in school, but 94% intend to go to college. As noted by United States Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colorado), who joined SOS in December 2007, SOS is “giving young people a chance to live up to the full potential of their humanity.”
To learn more about SOS Outreach, a 501(c)(3) organization, please visit www.SOSOutreach.org.
Read more about the Colorado River Ride with updates from the 2009 event.
You can find more information on the Colorado River Ride 2010 here, and on the ride in 2014, Thank You to the Children and Students of SOS Outreach.
Updated April 2022
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