10th annual Colorado Eagle River Ride gets riders pedaling for a cause
Avon, CO (July 26, 2011) — On Saturday in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, 861 cyclists gathered in Avon to pedal for youth nonprofit SOS Outreach.
The event, a 100-mile bicycle tour along the Colorado and Eagle Rivers in Eagle County, where SOS is headquartered, is the youth outdoor charity’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The 10th annual ride was made possible by more than 50 community volunteers, local sponsors and the riders who participated.
Riders said the ride was a fun way to get outdoors and pedal for a good cause.
“I’ve been a serious rider since I was a kid in New York and Vermont decades ago,” said cyclist John Moore. “I’ve done a ton of centuries and 11 tours. I’ve seen it done right, done halfway and done wrong. This year’s River Ride was outstanding. I saw a part of Colorado I would never otherwise have seen.”
SOS aims to positively influence underserved youth, teaching them leadership and civic responsibility through adventure sports such as snowboarding, skiing, camping, mountaineering, mountain biking and kayaking.
The ride has raised $50,000 for SOS in the past and has been a key part of helping the organization expand throughout Colorado, the rest of the country, and most recently to New Zealand.
“The beauty of the ride is that people get to enjoy a well-supported ride through some of the Vail Valley’s most scenic roads, while supporting a good cause,” said SOS Executive Director Arn Menconi.
SOS now has offices in six locations in the United States and operates across 45 mountain resorts in 15 states. Through both winter and summer programs that range from one-day trips to multi-day programs that combine leadership training, adult mentorship and sports, SOS Outreach reaches nearly 5,000 youth each year.
The River Ride, along with the support of many individual donors and corporate sponsors have made it possible for SOS to open two new offices this year one in New Zealand and another in Jupiter, Fla., which focuses on stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
So far this year, SOS has had one of its busiest and most successful summers yet. In the last two years, SOS Outreach has expanded from a winter-only organization to offering year-round programs. By the end of the summer, nearly 500 youth will have participated in a multi-day mountain trip, which includes camping, hiking, rock climbing and learning about the natural environment. In addition, SOS will have introduced 880 other kids to sports such as skateboarding, mountain biking and paddle sports.
The organization is also excited to debut a new program, the Masters Program, which works with about 100 kids through a year-round leadership program that engages kids with a mentor and both summer and winter sports.
Whether through a season-long program or a one-day program, SOS directors hope the experiences will impact kids for the long run.
One youth agency staff, who brought a group of Florida youth to a SOS paddle boarding day, said she saw her group take away positive lessons from their day on the water. “They will return to us the leaders of tomorrow, and I hope will create a future that is much better than the present,” she said. “The lessons they take away with them will no doubt impact their actions in the future and what they give back to their communities in return.”