- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Culture/Style
- Published: November 21, 2013
- Last Updated: October 27, 2014
Love to ride Mount Hood? Want to give back to the community?
SOS Outreach needs volunteer snowboard instructors to work with at-risk kids. If you have riding and teaching skills and you are willing to commit to five Saturdays this season, you could help out a program that has done a lot of good in 20 years.
SOS Outreach was founded by snowboarders in Colorado in 1993 with a mission to spread the love of mountain riding into new communities, to build self-confidence, leadership skills and positive decision making. About 5,000 youth take part in the program each year in eleven states and New Zealand. Over 200 of them ride on Mount Hood.
Regional Program Director Malee Lucas says the youth who sign up for SOS Outreach come from a variety of backgrounds in the Portland area. SOS works with schools and social service agencies to identify kids who would benefit the most from the program. Some are homeless; others have parents in the criminal justice system. Few would ever get the opportunity to experience of snowboarding Mount Hood were it not for a program like SOS Outreach.
Youth who sign up for the first time get five days of snowboarding, including all the necessary gear and apparel. They work with peers and community mentors, focusing on the core SOS values of courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion and humility. They also do community service with the Oregon Food Bank, the Rebuilding Center, Free Geek and other Portland-area nonprofits.
Mentors and rental shop employees gear up first-time riders with everything from boots and boards to helmets and goggles. "There's an incredible amount of work that goes into putting all of this together," says Lucas. As far as sponsors go, "The resorts deserve the main shout out," says Lucas. "Especially Mt. Hood Meadows. They are amazing!"
Malee Lucas says SOS Outreach has a solid supply of mentors signed up for 2013-14. But the program could use some new volunteer instructors.
On-the-mountain training for prospective volunteer instructors is scheduled for 8:30-4:30 December 14-15 at Mt. Hood Meadows.
Volunteer instructors can commit to February 22, March 1, March 22, April 5 and April 19 at Meadows, or March 1, March 8, April 5, April 12, and April 19 at Timberline. Volunteers get free lift tickets for the days they work with SOS.