SOS Outreach Sunday fundraiser supports scholarships for underserved youth |

SOS Outreach Sunday fundraiser supports scholarships for underserved youth

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News

When Chris Ferris was 12 years old, he, his dad, stepmother and stepsister Holly went to Badger Pass in Yosemite to learn to snowboard – a skill he picked up in just one lesson.

He ignored the rest of his lessons, trading the time spent there to race down intermediate slopes with Holly. On their last day, Chris and Holly were in the back of the lodge, staring at freshly fallen snow adorning the trees, mountains and meadow. He appeared enraptured with the snowy landscape. It became a part of his life from then on – as did his love of snowsports and his dedication to mentoring young people.

It’s the Chris Ferris namesake that’s being honored at Sunday’s Snowsports Outreach Society Scholarship Jam, set to begin at 11 a.m.

Entry fees, raffle ticket purchases and silent auction proceeds will contribute to the Chris Ferris Memorial Fund, which helps underserved youth enroll in the SOS Outreach programs, where they learn about leadership, foster self-respect and confidence and take part in community service. The programs incorporate skiing and snowboarding, introducing the mountain environment to youth who have not had the opportunity to experience it. SOS also offers a multi-year mentoring program providing youth with positive role models and leadership skills.

Tickets, $5 for youth and $8 for adults, includes barbecue lunch, unlimited bouncy castle use and a raffle ticket. The event celebrates the conclusion of SOS summer programs and kicks off the 2011-12 winter season with games, prizes and a silent auction as well as a memorial to Ferris.

The scholarship fund is in Ferris’ name because he embodied the words “mentor,” “friend,” “role model,” “counselor” and “father figure.” An SOS supporter through clothing and gear donations and internships offered to SOS youth, he died of health complications leading to heart failure in January 2005 at the age of 36, when his family was still young.

A devoted father, he dreamt of teaching his daughters to snowboard. He helped make the Breckenridge skateboard and snowboard scene positive and inclusive, according to previous Summit Daily News articles. It helped that, as a teen, Ferris was racing and winning Nastar trophies for downhill skiing. By 18, he was declared an “expert snowboarder” by instructors at Dodge Ridge – and dedicated his on-snow time to snowboarding from then on. Ferris opened The Big Hit in Breckenridge, which thrived as a business and became a second home to many young people in Breckenridge.

“Community members should come out Sunday for a fun day and to support a local nonprofit making a difference in the lives of almost 400 Summit County youth,” SOS Outreach Summit County programs director Theresa Papandrea said, who added participants can learn about the program and sign up as volunteers.

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