THE HEART OF OUR PROGRAMS
Nuts & bolts
Over four years, youth in the Mentor Program build upon lessons learned during the first year of Learn to Ride through the continuation of outdoor activities, focus on positive peer bonding, and emphasis on leadership and life skills development.
In this phase, our participants are matched up in groups of 3-5 with an adult mentor and peer mentor. Each year of the program includes five days of snowboarding/skiing and an increasing commitment to the community through leadership and life skills development workshops, service learning projects, and deeper understanding and practice of the SOS core values (courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility).
Our curriculum targets the development of eight life skills (communication, responsibility, cooperation, coping with adversity, engagement, empathy, assertion, and self-control) and provides youth opportunities to practically apply them. Each season, we host leadership panels in which students identify community leaders to engage and interview, as well as ‘Industry Days’, where participants shadow different mountain resort divisions for exposure to job opportunities right in their own backyards.
- Core-value based leadership development training with a group mentor
- Season pass to local ski resort
- 5 on-hill ride days
- Service learning through community projects with mentor group
PLEASE NOTE: SOS Outreach does not provide ski or snowboard equipment for this stage of the program. In some locations, our dedicated partner, Vail Resorts Retail (VRR) offers our Mentor program participants the option to purchase equipment through them at a highly subsidized rate. As youth progress through our program, there is an option to trade in equipment purchased the first year through VRR for different sizes at a reduced price.
“My SOS [mentor] group has helped me become a stronger, new me. Not only do I smile, but I have found myself reaching out for help instead of holding it in. SOS is not only an organization for kids, but is a rescue center for most.” — Elizabeth
8:45 am: Arrive at mountain
9:00 am: Gear up for a day on the slopes
9:30 am: Opening Circle of Love – share meaning of the core value of the day
9:45 am: Head out on the slopes with your mentor group
12:00 pm: Break for lunch
12:45 pm: Get back on the slopes
3:00 pm: Closing Circle of Love – reflect on the core value of the day and highlight peers who demonstrated that value
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS
Beyond the fun on the slopes, SOS youth are also busy completing hundreds of hours of service projects and improvement initiatives in their communities. Younger participants have done everything from taking care of horses at rescue facilities to stocking food baskets at community food banks to ringing the holiday bell for the Salvation Army.
Older participants take a more in-depth approach, identifying issues they see in their community and designing projects to help address those issues. Past projects have focused on the environment, community clean-up, animal rescue, fire safety, and mental health and wellness—and students have designed community service projects to meet those needs.
All youth in the mentor program attend life skills and leadership development workshops throughout the season. As the culmination to our Mentor program, our senior participants invite a diverse group of community leaders together to participate in a Leadership Panel. Panelists share their backgrounds, career paths, and insights on the importance of skill development for success and fostering the courage to pursue your passions.
Our incredible speakers from previous panels include Claudia Anderson, CEO of Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, Dani Neumann, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer, Sheriff Van Beek, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Dana Polley, School Therapist at KidSuccess, and Stephen Martinez, Lead Multi-Media Designer at Colorado Department of Transportation, among many others.
Where This Program Is Offered
Eagle County, CO
Summit County, CO
Park City, UT
South Lake Tahoe, CA
North Lake Tahoe, NV
Steamboat Springs, CO
We use a progressive curriculum that evolves with kids as they advance through our programs. Each year, kids learn new outdoor skills and life skills based on their age and circumstances. For younger participants, this might mean getting along with peers and taking personal responsibility for their homework. For older youth, the focus shifts to developing leadership skills and mentoring younger participants in the program.
PHASE 1: LEARN
All SOS programs begin with an introductory ski or snowboard experience. It’s amazing what you learn about yourself by strapping on a piece of wood and flying down a snow-covered mountain. For the first time, these kids experience a sense of accomplishment that only comes from trying something new — and nailing it!
PHASE 3: SHARE
With this newfound knowledge and confidence, older participants graduate from the mentoring program and become a mentor in their own right. They show younger kids the ropes on their first ski and ride days. Their own inner transformation is so obvious that classmates and families begin to emulate their success, ultimately lifting everyone in their sphere of influence.