SOS Outreach Youth Furthering their Leadership Skills at the London Olympics

Once again I am blown away by SOS Outreach. This organization has blossomed since I moved to Colorado’s mountains in 1990 and heard of their mission in 1993. Today the organization has grown from getting kids out on the mountain into a full blown youth development organization exposing kids to the world!

This summer twenty SOS Outreach (SOS) participants are experiencing an opportunity of a lifetime as they travel to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The students will begin their adventure with a trip to the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs on May 12 to tour the facilities and get a glimpse of the premier athleticism and commitment to excellence they will be experiencing at the Olympics.

These youth have been given this opportunity by the Global Sports Development (GSD) Playmakers program, an initiative that encourages today’s youth to be the leaders of tomorrow by taking action to improve themselves and their communities. Many of the students served by SOS come from low-income families and minority backgrounds, and would not otherwise have the opportunity to travel and experience an international event like the Summer Olympics. The trip will include meeting U.S. Olympic athletes, attending cultural events, sight-seeing and of course, watching the games – all experiences that SOS and GSD hope will inspire these youth to realize their potential and their ability to change the world.

“We are delighted to work with SOS,” said Steven Ungerleider of GSD. “SOS is one of the most organized youth and mentorship groups we have known in the past 15 years. I’m so encouraged by all the prep work these kids have done, including reading about gender equality, fair play, respect for coaches and drug-free sports. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.”

SOS is a national non-profit organization based in Avon,Colo.that encourages underserved youth to become involved in leadership development programs through outdoor adventure sports. SOS programs are a natural match with GSD’s goals to encourage youth to become leaders in their communities through various sports-based initiatives.

“This trip will provide the highest level of leadership training to youth within our programs,” said SOS Youth Programs Director Theresa Papandrea, “Such an experience will further develop a group of young leaders within the community.” Upon returning from London, students are asked to give presentations about what they’ve learned from the games.

The students range in age from 13-17 and are from SOS Colorado’s Denver, Eagle County, Summit County and Durango programs. All the kids have been involved in SOS’s leadership programs for four to six years and have demonstrated excellent leadership within their communities.

“One dream I plan to accomplish in my life is to travel around the world” said Jackie Luevano of Denver, one of the students going on the trip. “Meeting new friends from around the world can teach me how to be a better, stronger person in the future.”

This past weekend their journey began by visiting the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I am sure that this was a great start and taste of whats to come! We will keep you updated on there travels here at MTN Town Magazine is proud to assist in supporting the endeavors of SOS Outreach International, you should consider supporting them too!

~Mtn Town Views is MTN Town Magazine‘s daily journal blogging about Colorado’s mountain towns.   Like them on Facebook and Follow on Twitter

Photo Credits:  Sydney Schavietello, Development Coordinator-Eagle County, SOS

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