blog – programs

Mental Health Matters

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and we’re shining a light on how critical our programs are in equipping our youth with the skills, resources, and support they need to thrive.

Supporting 1,500 Youth Through an Unprecedented Season

Last fall, we weren’t sure how this winter season would look. Together, we focused on our youth. Our goal was to remain steadfast in supporting each participant every step of the way.

Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SOS Outreach

Since our founding in 1993, our work has been grounded in creating a more diverse, vibrant, and supportive community for marginalized youth. The power of this community has never proved as intensely critical as right now. The inequities exposed for kids struggling with economic, racial, social, and societal barriers have never been more amplified.

Olympic Athletes Inspire Our Park City Youth on the Hill

Thanks to our incredible partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and Armada Skis, last weekend Olympic athletes Steven Nyman and Brita Sigourney joined our Utah community to ski alongside 95 of our Mentor program youth at Park City Mountain. 

Our Largest Impact Yet

As the pandemic continues to sweep through our communities, we have doubled down on our efforts to provide consistent support, foster critical life skills, and strengthen our connection to meet the needs of our youth. We remain steadfast in our mission to stand by our participants’ side through an unprecedented season. 

Skills For Life: Part 1

We believe that connection, support, and opportunity are the necessary ingredients for youth success. Our programs are designed to create strong leaders across our communities, but that doesn’t stop after youth graduate SOS. We’re excited to share that we’re launching a new SOS Alumni Network, Continuing the Circle! The goal is to create a thriving community for our alumni to connect, collaborate, and engage with our current participants, SOS partners, and each other.

Valeria’s story is part 1 in a multi-part series that highlights the long-term success of SOS with first-hand experiences from several alumni.

SOS Youth Make Their Lake Tahoe Community Cleaner

Our year three Mentor program participants embark on a leadership-driven service project completely designed by them. With their Mentor groups comprising 4-6 kids, they examine needs in their communities, explore prominent issues they want to address, and develop and outline tangible solutions. These kids are making a very direct difference right where they live.

Finding Community With SOS Outreach

“SOS has been my support system,” shares SOS alum, Jessica. “My junior year was really stressful. I was overwhelmed with applying for college, with school work, all the aspects of your education that start to mean a lot more as you get closer to graduation. Going to SOS was really beneficial for my mental health. Spending those 8 hours with friends on the mountain actually helped me center myself and go home with a better attitude and a more productive work ethic.”

Developing Resilient Youth Through COVID and Beyond

At SOS, we often highlight how the skills our kids learn on the mountain translate to overcoming obstacles in their own lives: getting up after you fall, encouraging and cheering on peers, trying something challenging and new. Dr. Casey Wolfington, a licensed clinical psychologist at Eagle Valley Behavioral Health in Colorado, reaffirms why these skills and attitudes help guide our youth during difficult situations like this.

Lean On Me

Community and human connection are at the core of our mission at SOS. When we teach kids to ski, snowboard, backpack, and climb in a safe and encouraging environment—we also introduce them to new positive and supportive relationships.

Our mentor/mentee relationships are a crucial component of our kids’ success. Many of our kids lack consistent, positive adult role models, and it can be tough to know who to turn to when the terrain gets steep. Now more than ever, these bonds are key in helping our youth persevere.

Reflections Across The Season, Part 2

Last month, we began a series of season reflections to highlight the voices of kids, volunteers, and partners that make up the SOS family. In this month’s installment, we travel to programs across Colorado, Lake Tahoe, and the Midwest as our program managers share a few insights into the incredible youth and mentors that helped make this season so special.

Q&A With Our Program Coordinators

As our program coordinators wrap up their seasons, we asked them to reflect on the year and share their favorite parts of the season. Below, we share their answers and their insights into the impact of their work.

Reflections Across the Season, Part I

April marks the close of our winter programs and although we are unable to celebrate in-person, we are proud to start a series of season reflections to highlight the voices of kids, volunteers, and partners that make up the SOS family. In this month’s installment, program team members across Lake Tahoe, Utah, and Colorado share a few insights into the incredible youth and mentors that helped make this season so special. 

NFL SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS INSPIRE SOS YOUTH AT SUMMIT AT SNOQUALMIE

When kids are asked who their role models are, many point to professional athletes as figures they admire. Athletes embody strength, courage, determination, and discipline—and motivate us to set goals and dream big.

Kids at our Seattle program excitedly welcomed two such inspiring role models, former Seahawks and Super Bowl champions, Cooper Helfet and DeShawn Shead, at our recent program day hosted at The Summit at Snoqualmie.

How To Get Outdoors During The COVID-19 Pandemic

How To Get Outdoors During the COVID-19 Pandemic **Local advisories are changing by the hour, please check your local regulations…

SOS Outreach & COVID-19

SOS OUTREACH’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 The situation is changing day-to-day, so we will continue to update this blog with new…

Largest Week of Programs – 2,005 Kids on Snow

history in the making -2,005 SOS Kids On the slopes with SOS this week   There is a simple joy…

The Power of Mentorship

The Power of Mentorship January is National Mentoring Month and we’re sharing stories that highlight how our mentors make a…

New Faces!

New Faces! Please join us in welcoming a few new faces to our incredible staff team! Elizabeth Williams has joined…

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Jaqueline

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Jaqueline Earlier this year, we put out an Alumni Survey to reconnect with some of our past…

Reflections From The Field: Backpacking In Yosemite

Reflections from the field. Backpacking in yosemite By Amina Hughes, North Lake Tahoe Program Manager “Between every two pine trees…

Reflections From The Field: Building Relationships In The Outdoors

Reflections From The Field: Building Relationships In The Outdoors By Brooke Carlsen, Eagle County Program Manager This past summer at…

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Austin

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Austin Earlier this year, we put out an Alumni Survey to reconnect with some of our past…

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Amelia

Earlier this year, we put out an Alumni Survey to reconnect with some of our past participants. Let’s just say, we have…

Industry Days Inspire Youth

This winter, SOS partnered with Vail Resorts mountains Heavenly, Northstar, Park City, Beaver Creek, and other corporate partners Loveland, Copper, and…

Graduation Celebrations!

As we wrap up our 25th season, we celebrate the culmination of our mentoring programs with graduation ceremonies across our…

Alumni Spotlight: Meet Jessa

Last month, we put out an Alumni Survey to reconnect with some of our past participants. Let’s just say, we have been overwhelmed…

Participant Spotlight: Meet Isabella

Meet North Lake Tahoe Junior Mentor, Isabella! Now in ninth grade, Isabella has been in SOS for seven years and…

1,524 Kids On Snow At 19 Resorts

As our participants gear up for the largest week of winter programs, we are humbled and inspired by the unbelievable…

25th Winter Season Underway

This month kicks off winter program registration across SOS locations! This winter, over 3,500 youth across the country will experience…

SOS Kicks Off its 25th Year!

As we enter our 25th year of changing the lives of youth, we take this moment to look back, celebrate,…

Staff Reflections: Summer Backpacking Excursions

Staff Contributor, Scott Partan The success and impacts of our backpacking trips has been absolutely amazing this summer season. During…

Staff Reflections: Learn to Mountain Bike

SOS Staff Contributor, Joan Dieter Learn to Mountain Bike (LTMB) at Keystone was an amazing experience for both me and…

Gear Up For Summer Adventures

It was all smiles from the kids on the Colorado National Monument trips this May. Throughout the month, 6 elementary…

SOS Youth Shine on Mountain & In Classroom

This month, we celebrate SOS University participant Jorge, a ninth-grade student in Park City, who was selected as Utah Student of…

Staff Reflections: Special Times at the Colorado National Monument

Staff Contributor, Gillian Lane “Ok, where do I do go next?” asked 9-year-old Eduardo as he clung 15 feet up…

End of Season Celebrations

As the largest winter season in SOS Outreach’s 24-year history comes to a close, there is a lot to celebrate…

SOS Inspires Youth Off-Hill at Leadership Days

In the past month, SOS Outreach joined forces with Beaver Creek Resort and Copper Mountain to bring the first annual…

SOS Graduate Spotlight: Travis Tafoya

We caught up with SOS Outreach graduate, Travis to ask him about his experiences in SOS and the lessons he…

SOS Taps Into the Transformative Power of the River with O.A.R.S.

It’s not often that the opportunity to unplug from the hustle and bustle of life and connect with nature presents…

Guest Blog by Scott Partan: COLORADO MASTERS PARTICIPANTS BACKCOUNTRY EXCURSION

EAGLE AND SUMMIT COUNTIES, CO The mountains may be closing in Colorado, but for Colorado Masters students the season is far…

Summer Adventures Abound for SOS Youth

With a brief window between winter and summer programming, the SOS team is hard at work making final preparations for…

SOS Outreach Inspires the Next Generation of Community Leaders

Throughout the year, SOS University Year 4 participants explore leadership through experiential exercises aimed at defining and understanding their own…

SOS Outreach Celebrates Another Banner Winter Season

As the largest winter season in SOS Outreach’s history comes to a close, the organization is excited to announce that…

SOS Partners with Mt. Brighton to introduce the sports of skiing & snowboarding to Detroit area kids

MT. BRIGHTON, MI — Mt. Brighton announced today it will partner with the nationally acclaimed SOS Outreach organization for five…

Insider Access at SIA Tradeshow Engages SOS Youth in Snow Culture & Opportunties

DENVER, CO – The annual SnowSports Industries America (SIA) tradeshow is an opportunity for snowsports companies to showcase the styles,…

50,000+ Youth In SOS Programs Since 1993 – Embarks on LARGEST Week of Programs Ever

VAIL, CO – Winter brings along with it another season of SOS Outreach outdoor adventure-based leadership programming, providing at-risk youth in…

Inaugural Industry Day

On Wednesday, August 12th, SOS Outreach held its inaugural Industry Day in Boulder, Colorado. A select group of 22 high…

Backpacking with SOS Outreach

Sara Henley is an AmeriCorps VISTA member with SOS. She recently joined our Masters students on their summer backpacking trip,…

A Week in the Life of Backyard Adventures

Ever wonder what an SOS summer program looks like? Join us as we take a sneak peek into a Backyard…

Local Partnerships Are The Key To Making Summer Programs A Success!

Since its inception in 1993, SOS Outreach has expanded upwards and outwards to provide long-term programming for underserved youth.  After…

Summer Kick-Off: Colorado National Monument

Here at SOS, we value getting outside, and think it is especially important for kids. That’s why we kick off…