A few weeks ago, industry leaders Vail Resorts, evo, and Smartwool joined forces to guide a group of SOS Outreach’s most senior participants through an interactive and behind the scenes look at potential careers that exist within the outdoor industry during the organization’s 3rd annual Industry Day. SOS Outreach, a national youth development organization, empowers 5,000+ youth each year to reach their full potential - in education and in life - through an intensifying curriculum comprised of caring adult mentors, outdoor adventures, and long-term life skills development. As many SOS students embark on college applications and others progress towards the career path of their dreams, Industry Day provided an opportunity to peer into future career possibilities where their passions can translate into professions.
SOS Outreach introduces youth to a wide variety of outdoor adventure activities like skiing, snowboarding, backpacking, and rock-climbing through a dynamic and progressive curriculum to equip youth with the confidence and skills to unleash their potential to thrive. With such experience and passion for the outdoors, SOS youth are ideal candidates for positions in the outdoor industry. Front Range SOS Program Director Samantha Markovitz explains, “Watching SOS Outreach participants connect with the organization’s core partners really felt like we were bringing things full circle. Our participants and partners bonded over shared core values and passions, which created a space that made that industry suddenly feel familiar, and this connection made a career seem all the more accessible.”
The day kicked off at evo Denver, where participants learned that working in the outdoor industry doesn’t mean you have to sit behind a desk. Store Manager Jordan Sunshine and Service Manager Matt Hupperts led students through an interactive walkthrough of the entire store, including the retail side and service/repair and demo sides. Reflecting on the day, Jordan shared, “The questions they asked really blew me away and kept it engaging. Talk about some smart kids! It was super fun to show them around and see them fired up on the shop, and we look forward to getting more youth involved.” Since expanding to Denver last fall, evo has become an ally and partner, integrating their community to build broader support for SOS’ transformational youth programs in Denver and beyond. Following the morning session with evo, SOS youth were joined by 3 members of the Smartwool team who took the stage to describe the unique opportunities that exist within the apparel sector. Smartwool has been a dedicated SOS partner for nearly a decade and shares a commitment to responsible participation, pushing boundaries in their pursuit to create the best products from all natural and renewable merino wool. Merchandise Operations Coordinator, Eric Lamb shares, “These types of events are great. Combining retail and advocacy partners in one space is a unique way of sharing our passion for the Smartwool community. It was also fun to see familiar SOS youth face’s from the previous years’ Industry Day.”
The day concluded with a trip to SOS Outreach’s founding partner headquarters, Vail Resorts. Participants were welcomed by a group of employees representing the company’s retail, community giving and engagement, strategic alliance, sustainability, and talent acquisition teams. In small group discussions with participants, Vail Resorts employees shared their diverse paths that all lead to working for the world’s premier mountain resort company. Sharing career advice and words of encouragement, the day demonstrated the ongoing commitment of Vail Resorts to create a culture of giving and provide opportunities for youth. As Nicky DeFord, Director of Community Engagement for Vail Resorts shares, “In an era of success defined by the number of zeros in a salary, we want to show kids the importance of finding your passion and linking it to what you do each day. By partnering with SOS, we hope to show that there are various ways to live by the mantra ‘Do what you love, love what you do.’” SOS Outreach is honored by the shared commitment and dedication of our corporate partners to expand participants’ understanding of the outdoors as not only a fun place to play, but also as a gateway to a brighter future.
About SOS Outreach
SOS Outreach (SOS) is a multi-state organization that empowers the most at-risk youth to access the recreation and resources to achieve their optimal potential - in education and in life - through equal parts leadership development, positive adult mentorship, and responsible outdoor adventure. Utilizing a progressive curriculum with each year building on the previous, SOS uses outdoor adventure as a vehicle to provide a values-based, leadership curriculum that promotes self-respect, positive relationships, social skills, and life-skills development and community, contributing to the long-term success of underserved youth between the ages of 8 and 18. To learn more, visit www.sosoutreach.org, or call 970.926.9292.