Industry Press Release



Nation’s largest youth winter sports program now at 39 resorts in Nine States, Canada & New Zealand

Steamboat Springs, CO (December 11, 2009) Chaos Headwear continues their headwear bandwidth with SOS Outreach for its 5th year in a row. SOS is now the nation’s largest youth winter sports nonprofit service entering its 16th season. This weekend, more than 500 students in Colorado will hit the slopes at half a dozen ski resorts courtesy of SOS Outreach. Chaos supplies all the staff and many of the graduates with custom SOS-Chaos winter beanies.

SOS engages youth through outdoor adventure education programs. By teaching outdoor sports like snowboarding and rock climbing as a hook, the organization pairs students with adult mentors who guide participants through a core value-based curriculum. This year, 3,000 youth will enroll in winter sports programs with SOS Outreach, 50% who live in the Denver area. SOS Outreach will serve another 1,200 students in outdoor sports programs during the summer months, for a total of 20,000 participant days across its programs.

“It has been an honor to work with Arn Menconi SOS founder and executive director, and Seth Erlich- program director for the custom hats each year. We understand the hat gift to the graduates add a completion memory to their newly gained skills and enhanced confidence. They have a take way item that will always remind them of the time and care SOS invested in them,” explains Beth Cochran, communications director for Chaos Headwear.

The students learn from professional instructors to enhance their on-hill experience; interfaced with new skills is also the art of giving back. SOS Outreach founder and executive director Arn Menconi said participants will become involved in much more. “Our aim is to give an experience of a lifetime to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity,” he said. “At the same time, we use the cool’ factor of snowboarding and skiing as a hook for a multi-year core value curriculum that inspires the students to become more involved in the community by giving back.”

For example Menconi explains, “It’s great to see students return to the program year after year, and even better to see 15 students graduate the program and decide to return this year to mentor the younger students–one such student is Irving Hernandez, who enters his 10th year with SOS Outreach.”

Hernandez said he hopes his experience will help some of the younger students who may be intimidated during their first trip to the mountains. “I knew I had to be a role model before (as a junior mentor), but now it’s an even bigger deal because the kids are always looking at you,” he said. “If you set the example, they’ll follow it.”

In all, SOS Outreach partners with 39 mountain resorts across nine states, Canada and New Zealand. Menconi said without the steady support of Vail Resorts, the organization would not have been able to expand.

The experience of Hernandez and so many others isn’t lost on Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, who looked forward to continuing the company’s close relationship with SOS. “Working with SOS Outreach, we are able to give the experience of a lifetime to kids who may not have the opportunity,” Katz said. “SOS has taken the time to understand the best way to reach kids, and with the excitement of their first chair lift ride or their first turn, each of the SOS kids is an inspiration to every one of our employees who work with them. We hope the experience makes as big a positive impact on their lives as it has on ours.”

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