Four local kids visit London for Olympics
Ryan Summerlin July 29, 2012
Thanks to Summit County SOS Outreach, four local youth are taking advantage of the opportunity to spend a week in London to watch the 2012 Olympics.
Patrick Brady, Jack Cline, Mystic McSadden and Chris Vangfnes, all from Summit County, were recognized for their longevity and efforts within the Snowboard Outreach Society and were awarded with the trip for their commitment to the program.
The group departed from Denver International Airport to London Friday to enjoy the Olympics.
“This trip will provide the highest level of leadership training to youth within our programs,” said SOS founder and executive director Arn Menconi. “Such an experience will further develop a group of young leaders within the community.”
The group will be joining 16 other SOS Outreach members from Colorado in London where their flight, hotel and food will be paid for in full.
The flights, lodging and food will be provided by Summit County SOS Outreach, which began 1993 in the Vail Valley with a group of snowboarders who wanted to expose underprivileged youth to the mountains and winter sports.
Since its funding, SOS has merged with Meet the Wilderness, an organization based in summer adventure programs. There are SOS programs in 15 states and New Zealand.
On the trip, the group will meet former Olympic athletes, attend cultural events, watching the games and go sightseeing, said Menconi, who will be accompanying the group as a chaperon.
SOS Outreach youth members present on the trip range in age from 13-17 and will travel from SOS programs in Summit County, Denver, Eagle County and Durango.
The lucky youth received this opportunity from the Global Sports Development Playmakers program, an initiative within SOS Outreach that inspires youth to be leaders within their communities.
To qualify for the trip, the participants have been involved in SOS leadership programs for at least four years.
The SOS Outreach students began their adventure in May with a trip to the United States Olympic Committee Training Center in Colorado Springs, where they watched athletes train.
“There aren’t a whole lot of people who get to go and experience the Olympics in person – the energy of the Olympics is insane,” said Gretchen Bleiler, an Olympic snowboarding silver medalist who participated in an SOS Ride Day last winter.
“They’re going to get inspired and it’s just going to create a whole new level of what is possible – I’m so excited for those guys,” Bleiler said.
Summit County’s SOS Outreach members will return from their trip Aug. 3.