SOS Outreach season ends on a high note
April 25, 2009
SILVERTHORNE ” More than 300 people attended the final SOS Outreach graduation ceremony in Summit County Thursday night at the Silverthorne Pavilion.
Parents and supporters looked on as more than 100 students were recognized for their personal growth and accomplishments during the season with a certificate from SOS, and another from U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.
The evening provided sherpas, or adult mentors, an opportunity to reflect on the season.
“This was my first year as a sherpa, so I got a few ride days in with the kids, but just being able to spend that time with them was amazing,” said Aurora Santos. “We had a total of four in my group. Two spoke English, and the other two mostly spoke Spanish, so we wound up with a version of Spanglish – but most importantly, everyone had a blast.”
For sherpa Nira Duvan, it was her first full season with the SOS Outreach multi-year University program. Her students chose the group name “Ullr,” after the Norse god of snow.
“I had six Year One students, and it was exciting to be a part of the University program. I’ve been a snowboard instructor at Keystone for a few years, and have done a few Learn to Ride programs with SOS before, but being able to have a long-term relationship with the students is great,” Duvan said, adding she would continue to work with SOS students in summer programs next month.
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Duvan was one of a few Keystone Resort staff in attendance. Chief Operations Officer Pat Campbell, delivered the keynote speech for the ceremony.
“On behalf of Vail Resorts, I can say we’re very proud to be involved with SOS through the years. It’s been a great pleasure watching the organization grow, and to see the youth become more involved in giving back,” she said.
Campbell said she was pleased to see the multi-year SOS programs emphasize core values, on- and off-hill.
“It’s evolved to the point where there’s still the recreational component, but that’s combined with a vision of how these students can be integrated into the community with a spirit of giving back. We look forward to continue our involvement with SOS and its efforts to give back to the community.”
Theresa Bisio, SOS Outreach regional coordinator for Summit County, said the well-attended ceremony was an appropriate capstone for a number of students, including junior sherpa Geordie Tousey, who finished his seventh year of SOS programs.
“He shows great leadership and comes to almost every SOS event regardless if he was asked to be there or not,” she said. “Geordie is always making sure that his brother, a third-year participant, fulfills his SOS requirements. Many times, he’ll stop by the SOS office just to check and see if I need help. He lives by and displays the SOS core values daily, so it’s great we’re able to recognize students like him in this way.”
For more information about SOS, go to http://www.sosoutreach.org.