SOS Outreach paving way for Lake Tahoe youth to turn passion into careers
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Last weekend, about 300 South Lake Tahoe youth celebrated the end of their winter season with the youth development nonprofit, SOS Outreach.
Now in its 13th year of operation in the Tahoe region, SOS Outreach uses a combination of mentorship and mountain access to deliver a core values based curriculum focused on service to the community, social-emotional skills, and developing a sense of belonging.
“I’m really proud of how much these kids grew this season,” said Program Manager Morgan Edwards. “As we all know, it was not an easy season to coordinate ride days, workshops, and service activities, but rain, snow, or shine, participants showed up with smiles on their faces.”
Despite weather setbacks, programs were able to run at full capacity at both Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts throughout the season.
Edwards said she is thankful to all the staff at both mountains who facilitated SOS ride days.
“They make our programs possible and help provide mountain access to a lot of young people who wouldn’t have that same access otherwise,” she said.
Kirkwood and Heavenly, in partnership with Epic Promise, provided youth with season rentals, instruction and passes.
“Getting on the mountain is really cost prohibitive,” Edwards said, “but Epic Promise is making sure that these kids can enjoy the mountains in their own community, and using these mountains as our classroom, SOS can help kids gain skills for life.”
Looking ahead towards this upcoming summer, SOS Outreach will provide its usual programming via activities like backpacking, rafting, and paddle boarding. But this year, SOS is providing a new opportunity to its participants ages 15-plus.
“I’m super excited that we are introducing our Career Development Pipeline to teens and program alumni in South Lake,” said Edwards.
SOS’ Career Development Pipeline is a six-week program that connects participants with paid job opportunities in the outdoor industry. While the program is new to South Lake Tahoe, this program has been running in other SOS locations for the past three years. In previous years, youth have worked with companies like Smartwool, evo, Vail Resorts, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and others.
“This is a great opportunity for our high school aged participants who have gained a passion for the outdoors through SOS and now are wondering how they can turn that passion into a career,” said Edwards.
The career program will launch in June 2023 and is open to all SOS participants ages 15 and up.
Additionally, this program would not be possible without the support of the Tahoe Women’s Community Fund Grant through El Dorado Community Foundation, Barton Health Foundation, Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Lake Tahoe Community College, Boys & Girls Club South Lake Tahoe, Azul Latin Kitchen, MacDuff’s, and Blue Zone Sports. For more information, visit sosoutreach.org.
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