SOS Outreach held its fifth annual Youth Summit during the Snowsports Industries America Snow Show in Denver earlier this month, recognizing corporate contributions to youth development.
This year, SOS presented its Social Impact Award in Youth Development to Nicky DeFord, of Vail Resorts Echo, and Chaos Headware. The recipients were chosen not only for helping SOS Outreach in years past, stated a news release from the organization, but also for continuing to positively affect the communities they serve.
The Youth Summit commenced with opening remarks from SIA president David Ingemie, who highlighted SOS’s impacts throughout the nation. By the end of this winter, the organization will have served 3,700 at-risk youths across 22,000 program days at 32 mountain resorts. Ingemie said that SOS is teaching these students to extend their compassion into their communities.
A quintessential example of an individual who is positively affecting the lives of others is Kevin Pearce, the event’s keynote speaker. Pearce recently showed his film “Crash Reel” at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center, depicting his rise to snowboarding stardom and prolific rivalry with Shaun White. Pearce’s career was stifled when he suffered a traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 Olympics. After being in a coma for a week and having to relearn most ordinary things, Pearce is now spearheading the “Love Your Brain” campaign, promoting helmet awareness around the globe. According to SOS, Pearce’s story is one of immense courage, making him a natural spokesman for the organization’s mission and core values. As he said during his speech, “When you fall, you get back up.”
Both Chaos Headwear and Nicky DeFord display that same commitment to SOS’ mission, the organization stated. In addition to making hats, Chaos Headwear consistently has given to youth nonprofits for more than a decade. The company demonstrates commitment to outdoor outreach organizations around the world, including SOS Outreach, Outdoor Outreach, Big City Mountaineers, Boys & Girls Club of Denver, Steamboat Winter Sports Club and Vail Veterans, among others. The award demonstrates deep appreciation for the Tock family, who own Do-Gree Mills and the Chaos brand with president Richard Tock at the helm, David Tock as vice president, Matthew Tock in marketing and product development and Adam Tock in production.
Nicky DeFord is being recognized for her management of Vail Resorts Echo, the corporate stewardship arm of Vail Resorts Inc. DeFord is responsible for the consistent growth of Vail Resorts’ charitable contributions, the release said. VR Echo annually contributes $6.5 million in grants to more than 220 charities to serve local populations and protect local landscapes. Highlights of DeFord’s impact through the Echo program include: nearly 16,000 annual hours volunteered by Vail Resorts employees, $500,000 raised annually for healthy forests and 2,500 kids who have never been on a chairlift learning the passion of skiing through SOS Outreach.
Social Impact award recipients are role models for today’s youth, SOS stated.