Our programs change lives
SOS Outreach changes young lives through a proven curriculum that combines the support of caring adults, outdoor opportunities, and service and leadership development needed to become successful adults.
Everything we do at SOS points back to our single main objective: help kids thrive. Not just survive — truly thrive. And it starts by leveling the playing field. By providing the right mix of inputs to give our kids an equal — or better — chance at success. Through a structured mentor-driven program set in the outdoors, the SOS curriculum instills core values (courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, humility) and develops critical life skills necessary for their success both now, and in the future.
Since 1993, SOS has reached over 70,000 kids across 15 communities at 22 mountains in 9 states through 15,000 volunteers. That’s more than 2 million hours of outdoor adventure and 250,000 hours of service total. And that’s just the beginning.
How We Do It
Rooted in research, our 10-year intentional program model cultivates social and emotional learning (SEL) to lay the foundation for successful young futures. SEL is essential to the holistic development of our kids. Youth are able to effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
We introduce these skills early in our curriculum and reinforce them throughout the program, ensuring that sufficient time is devoted to teaching and practicing new skills that help shape the way our kids understand themselves and the world around them.
Our progressive approach acknowledges that developing resilience by learning SEL skills requires sufficient reinforcement and application. Each stage of the SOS curriculum is designed to meet our kids where they are and help them develop life skills appropriate with their age and circumstances. It fosters meaningful mentor-mentee relationships through on-mountain activities that deepen with off-hill activities.
In our introductory program, we help build confidence and a sense of accomplishment by instilling new outdoor skills. As our students progress into the mentor-driven curriculum, kids start to embody our six core values and see the positive impact they have at school, at home, with their friends, and of course, on the mountain. By the time our students reach the capstone Peer Mentor phase, they directly apply the learned leadership and SEL skills to empower their younger peers in the Mentor program.
SOS Is Successful Because We
Recently, we completed a study analyzing the effectiveness of our programs over the past 10 years. The results prove unequivocally that SOS programs lead to more kids who graduate high school, attend college, find careers and give back to their communities.
SOS YOUTH PLAN TO ATTEND COLLEGE
SOS MENTOR GRADUATES RETURN TO MENTOR PEERS
SOS Youth Since 1993
“[SOS] is truly a life-changing experience for the students and an incentive for them to improve and excel. Participating in this new activity encouraged them to want to try other new things, and improved their self-esteem and self-confidence because even though it was hard at first, they learned that you keep on trying and that failing one time does not make you a failure.”
-Ida Daniels, Denver Public Schools
“SOS has also made me feel safe and welcome, and if I’m being honest, I consider some of the people my family. It is impossible to explain the way I feel when I am out on the mountain or miles into the woods with SOS. It warms my heart to know that I’m helping other kids experience the feeling I get when with SOS. It is truly something every kid should participate in.”
–Amber, South Lake Tahoe Mentor Program
“Something truly unique about snowboarding as a sport is that so much of it can be translated to our day-to-day lives…There are challenges in our lives where we will use the same exact skills that we use on the mountain and overcome them! I’d like to think of snowboarding as a training exercise for succeeding in life.”
– Zaya, Denver, CO Mentor Program
“SOS Outreach gave me a community during high school when I had none. The connections and friendships I made changed my whole high school experience. The experience of meeting new people and learning new activities definitely helped me get out of my comfort zone and try something new, something I wouldn’t have otherwise!”
– Rachelle, Summit County, CO Alum
“SOS was one of my first leadership opportunities – I was encouraged to learn something that was scary to me – to be a part of a community that I never had access to or considered I would be welcome for financial reasons. I learned how to have fun and watch my character grow through an external challenge. I still seek to apply this level of character to my life every day by remaining true to my values.”
-Amelia, Denver, CO Alum
“SOS has taught me how to be a good person on and off the mountain using the 6 core values. And I get to do all of this with kids that are some of my best friends and a mentor who is there for me through thick and thin.”
– Ashley, Summit County, CO Mentor Program