SOS Outreach, a national youth development non-profit with local programs in Park City, incorporates the outdoors as a launching pad to build community, develop critical life skills, and strengthen resilience for underrepresented youth to navigate unexpected challenges. SOS Outreach’s programs counter the isolation youth are facing from the pandemic—empowering them with the tools and resources to endure the challenges laid before us all. Since its inception in 1993, SOS has been fostering a supportive community—and the power of that community has never proved as critical as now.
In partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and Armada Skis, last weekend Olympic athletes Steven Nyman and Brita Sigourney joined the SOS Utah community to ski alongside 95 of the organization’s Mentor program youth at Park City Mountain.
From Brita leading a human slalom down the mountain to Steven engaging in lively chairlift conversations on the SOS core values of courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility—the day was inspirational and fun. SOS youth were inspired to discover their passions, set goals, and dream big by these Olympic athletes who reinforced that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
Brita and Steven skied with SOS’ oldest participants—who are experiencing high levels of stress with school, often juggling several jobs to help support their families, and taking care of their younger siblings at home. The much-needed feelings of carefree joy, abundant confidence, and a sense of belonging that grew throughout the day left a lasting impression on the youth.
“That was one of the best days I’ve ever had!” shares Angel, a 17-year-old SOS participant. “Brita was kind enough to show all of us her skills on the half pipe and Steven was always encouraging us to ride with style and finesse—and that gave us all courage to ride better than we have before. What I’ll carry into my future? Pros are very cool people.”
Steven raced two snowboarders who were beaming with pride as they cruised side-by-side with the Olympian. He was equally patient with some of beginner riders sharing lift rides, stories and insight with the group.
As the laps continued, SOS youth felt more comfortable opening up to these athletes—sharing examples of integrity, the core value of the day, and demonstrating courage to set fears aside. It was a fulfilling experience for all—full of laughter, fist bumps, and autographs.
The skills that these kids gained on the mountain with Brita and Steven translate to overcoming obstacles in their own lives: getting up after you fall, encouraging and cheering on your peers, stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something new. These athletes’ desire to engage in SOS programs on this deeper level creates meaningful impact for local youth—and that impact is mutual.
“I got to go skiing with some amazing kids at SOS!” shares Brita. “SOS is such a great organization that instills confidence and provides unique opportunities to our local youth—and they were shredders.”
With the support of Vail Resorts, Armada, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, and other dedicated partners, SOS is transforming the slopes to be a more inclusive place. A place where every child has the opportunity to try a new sport, to connect with the outdoors, and to laugh, learn and grow with their peers and positive adult role models.
Founded in partnership with Vail Resorts, SOS Outreach has transformed the lives of over 70,000 underserved youth since 1993. While providing outdoor recreation experiences for that many kids is impressive, it’s only a partial demonstration of SOS’ impact. Using a unique combination of outdoor adventure experiences, positive adult mentorship, and leadership development opportunities, SOS enables participants to unleash their full potential to thrive. Serving 4,000 youth each year, across 15 locations in 9 states, SOS provides opportunities for personal growth for the kids in communities who need it most. To learn more, visit www.sosoutreach.org.