SOS Outreach prepares for winter with new programs, manager
SOS Outreach is looking forward to starting the winter season with new mentoring programs feeding into the organization’s continued efforts to bridge gaps for underserved youth.
The organization will also welcome David Schramm, a Steamboat resident, who has been hired as the SOS Outreach program manager.
“We’re really excited to be bringing our mentor program to Steamboat,” said Spencer Cox, the nonprofit’s communications and corporate relations manager. “We’ve been operating in Steamboat Springs for 16 years and the bulk of our programming prior to this has focused on mountain access. It’s hugely important because there’s a huge population of youth in Steamboat Springs, and Routt County in general, who have these mountains in their backyard but can’t access them due to socioeconomic barriers.”
In previous seasons, SOS Outreach has engaged more than 130 youth in winter mountain access programs. However, this upcoming season, SOS is introducing its mentor program to Steamboat youth with the support of its newly hired program manager.
According to the organization, the SOS mentor program encompasses a four-year progressive curriculum that focuses on developing positive relationships and a sense of belonging, enhancing self-regulation through social and emotional learning, and developing strong character by applying core values.
Participants are paired with adult role models, and throughout the season, participants and their mentors engage in on-snow ride days, community service projects and weekly evening workshops.
“With Steamboat Ski Resort and Share Winter Foundation’s support, we’ve been able to introduce young people to skiing and riding who otherwise would not be able to access the mountains in their own backyard,” said SOS Outreach Executive Director Seth Ehrlich. “Removing barriers to access is significant. We knew that we could still further deepen our impact in the community. The implementation of our mentor program will do exactly that.”
While he is new to SOS, Schramm is not new to the Steamboat community. He has served as the after school program director at Sk8 Church, where he launched a learn to skate program, mentor program and leadership development program.
He also volunteers as a mentor for the Music with Vision program in Steamboat Springs, as well as being a volunteer Terrain Park ambassador for Steamboat Resort.
“This means the world to me,” Schramm said of the mentoring program. “My world was changed when I reached out and found mentors myself. … I really owe a lot of the success that I’ve had to my two mentors. So, since being impacted in that way, it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to be a mentor and role model.”
SOS Outreach started in the Vail Valley in 1993 and has grown to serve 16 different communities in nine states, predominantly in the mountain west. The majority of its programs are in Colorado.
In Colorado alone, the nonprofit serves Eagle County, Summit County, Steamboat, Denver and the Durango. SOS also has programs in North and South Lake Tahoe, and in the Pacific Northwest in places like Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Yakima, Washington. It can also be found in midwest locations like Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis.
Cox said that anyone interested in being a part of the programs offered by SOS Outreach should visit the organization’s website at SOSOutreach.org and he also encourages people to participate in Colorado Gives Day slated for Dec. 6, 2022.
“I would just encourage folks to participate in Colorado Gives Day which is coming up,” Cox said. “It’s a statewide day of giving, and if folks want to make an impact, they can donate through Colorado Gives and make sure that money goes directly to youth in Steamboat programs.”
Cox said youth development is really the focus of SOS Outreach, and that skiing and snowboarding just happens to be the medium they use to engage youth. Cox said that right now, the programs are mainly in the winter, but he expects the organization to shift to a more year-round model in the future.
“Now, with having David on full-time, we can look to start increasing our program to be more of a year-round focus in Steamboat,” Cox said before adding that the program doesn’t have any immediate plans to share on that just yet.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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