SOS Students Ask Panel Leadership Questions
Last Wednesday, March 13, Leadville’s SOS students participated in a Community Leaders Panel at the local library. During the discussion, youth participants asked adult leaders questions concerning the Five Core Values of the SOS Program: courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and compassion.
Community panelists included President/General Manager of Ski Cooper Dan Torsell, Superintendent of Lake County Schools Dr. Wendy Wyman, Lake County Commissioner Mike Bordogna, and Denny Johnson, Board of Directors -St. Vincent Hospital and retired attorney. During the program, SOS students asked the panel who their heroes are and which one of the five core values they connected with the most.
“This is the first time we did (the community panel),” said Sara Pederson SOS Program Coordinator in Leadville. “The students worked hard on their questions at monthly meetings and then invited the community leaders to sit on the panel.”
According to the SOS website, each of the programs offers a value-based leadership curriculum that enhances the experiences for students by promoting self-respect, positive relationships, social skills, and positive values all while participating in an outdoor sport.
Locally 35 students benefited from the program this winter, which included the Learn To Ski Program – thanks to the generosity of Ski Cooper and Bill’s Rentals. After all, for many local children, the rising cost of getting out on the slopes turns the desire to ski into a deterrent.
For those unfamiliar with the program, SOS Outreach was founded in 1993 in the Vail Valley. As a nonprofit organization, their programs build character and self-esteem in youth through outdoor activities in addition to curriculum.
Ironically, it began with a group of snowboarders; SOS actually stands for Snowboard Outreach Society. These shredders wanted to expose underprivileged youth to the mountains, as well as to the sport of snowboarding. Since its founding, SOS has expanded across individual winter sports to include skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing while incorporating a youth development curriculum.
The winter program SOS graduation will be held on March 30 at 4:30p.m., up at Colorado Mountain College in the Climax Bldg., room 401. This will also be the first year that the program will graduate Year 4 kids. These 10 students will now be eligible to be Junior Sherpa’s.
It’s important to note that programs like SOS are sustained by individuals and volunteers who stay committed to the goals, continually showing up for the kids. Sara Pederson is a prime example of that – and what better role model for the SOS Program! Keep up the good work, Sara!
Want to help? Give Leadville Coordinator Sara Pederson a call at (651) 247-5467. The Spring Program is right around the corner. It would be a great way to get out and enjoy the Leadville outdoors and help mentor a local student.