Youth Snowsports Program Begins at The Summit at SnoqualmieView as PDF
More than 230 underserved youth kick off season with nonprofit SOS Outreach
SEATTLE, WA – January marks the kick-off of the 2011 season for SOS Outreach programs at Summit at Snoqualmie. SOS Outreach aims to build character in underserved youth through outdoor activities such as snowboarding and skiing. More than 185 new riders and skiers will be part of SOS programs this season, and about 45 youth are returning students who will participate in SOS’ multi-year, intensive University program.
Seattle-area kids ages 8 to 18 receive lessons in both riding techniques and SOS Outreach core values: courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and compassion. Volunteer instructors and mentors help discuss how these values can be applied to everyday life.
One participant, Kayla Avery, 17, said, “Courage is not the absence of fear…it is choosing to be brave in the face of fear or when something is difficult. I’ve used courage before when standing up for a younger kid whom I didn’t know when he was bullied by a peer at school.”
The Summit resort has been hosting SOS programs for over 13 years, said Holly Lippert of Summit at Snoqualmie. “We support SOS and their mission to weave snowboarding, skiing and exposure to the mountains into their program to help develop character and self esteem for youth,” she said. “We at The Summit continually strive to provide access to snowsports for as many people as possible, particularly young people, so supporting SOS is a no-brainer.”
Participants in SOS’ introductory Learn to Ride Program travel to The Summit at Snoqualmie after school once a week for a total of five sessions. The organization provides lift tickets, equipment rental, and lessons. If kids are hooked, they can sign on for the more in-depth University program, which requires community service hours and pairs each youth with an adult mentor. The ultimate goal is for students to feel confident in making responsible choices on and off the slopes. “Even after one week, we’ve had some youth in foster care respond more to this program than anything their agency coordinators had ever seen,” said Program Manager Rob Gray. “It’s amazing to watch youth from rough circumstances drop their guards and be able to just focus on making the next turn.”
So far, this year’s new riders are up to the challenge. David Ramer, a 16 year-old participant, said, “That feeling of having those big heavy butterflies in your stomach really only means you’re excited, and that’s when you know you’re ready.”
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