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Turning a Passion into a Career – Vicente’s Experience in the Career Development Program

Navigating the professional world as a young person isn’t easy. And when you tack on socioeconomic barriers, getting your foot in the door of your dream job can get even harder. 

In the summer of 2020, SOS Outreach set out to solve this problem through the creation of its Career Development Program. Since 1993, SOS has engaged kids & teens who face challenges in their daily lives through mentorship and snow sports, like skiing and riding, to deliver a multi-year curriculum. The Career Development program builds upon this curriculum by providing young people ages 16+ with paid summer internships in the outdoor industry.

Vicente graduating from SOS 3 years ago

This summer, 21-year-old Vicente Flores joined the program and got an internship at the Utah-based ski company, Armada Skis. Flores who is an SOS alumni and currently an engineering student at the University of Utah felt like this opportunity aligned perfectly with his passions, “when hearing that I could intern with Armada last summer the idea clicked that I could combine snowboarding with my engineering…I figured I could combine the two worlds I enjoy and make a possible living out of it.”

Flores spent the summer with Armada researching ski designs, and once his internship ended, he was invited by Armada’s owner, Hans Smith,to keep coming back to attend brainstorming meetings. “Over the years, the interns we’ve had the privilege to collaborate with through SOS have consistently demonstrated dedication, enthusiasm, and a strong eagerness to learn,” says Smith, “Vicente was no exception and an absolute pleasure to work with. Throughout his internship, he consistently exemplified a strong work ethic and a genuine passion for his responsibilities. I have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead, and I’m genuinely excited to witness his career development.”

This professional experience was pivotal in shaping Flores’ dream of becoming a product engineer for a snowboarding company and he attributes his years with SOS as the catalyst for it all, “SOS is the reason why I fell in love with the snowboarding world and everything within it, whether it’s the culture and community, lifestyle, the process of always learning on and off the mountain to get better, the adrenaline. It’s what I want to pursue and do for the rest of my life and eventually be able to make an impact in the accessibility of this sport in people’s lives.“

Flores is in the process of wrapping up his final years of his engineering degree with the hopes of working for a snowboarding company upon graduation. 

To learn more about SOS’ Career Development Program, visit: