Mission & History


Gear Up For Life

SOS Outreach changes young lives, building character and leadership in underserved kids through mentoring outdoors. 


25 Years of SOS Outreach:

1993: Arn Menconi founded SOS Outreach, as the Snowboard Outreach Society (SOS), to improve the negative societal perception of the snowboard culture existing in the 1980s and the early 1990s.

1994: SOS Outreach organizes a snowboard competition and raises $300 for the Vail Valley Medical Center.

1995: The Eagle County office opens its doors and 15 inner-city Denver youth try snowboarding for the first time.

1998: 200 youth try snowboarding at Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts, launching the five-day SOS Learn to Ride curriculum. SOS develops a character-building curriculum based on the core values of courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom and compassion.

2000: SOS winter programs grow to serve 600 youth. SOS develops a multi-year curriculum which focuses on value-based leadership, launching the four-year University program.

2004: SOS serves 1,500 youth through winter programs. Service learning projects are added to the multi-year curriculum requirements.

2007: SOS changes its name to SOS Outreach to demonstrate its growth beyond just snowboarding. SOS opens full-time offices in Summit County, Colorado and Denver Metro, Colorado. SOS also launches SnowCore, a one or two-day ski or snowboard program exposing more youth to snow sports. SOS serves 3,000 youth.

2008: SOS opens the Seattle office, expanding programs throughout the Pacific Northwest.

2009: SOS merges with Meet the Wilderness, a 34 year old organization that introduced youth to summer adventure sports. The merger enables SOS to serve 5,000 youth annually and develop the year-round, multi-year curriculum.

2010: SOS opens the Tahoe office, expanding programs throughout the Lake Tahoe Region.

2013: Having served a total of 36,282 youth and celebrating 20 years, SOS adds humility as the sixth core value. 

2014: Celebrating 21 years of service, SOS's founder Arn Menconi steps down as Executive Director. The SOS family will always be thankful for his vision and leadership.

2015: SOS expands programs to Park City Resort in Park City, Utah.

2016: SOS celebrates 50,000 youth in programs since its founding in 1993. SOS expands programs to Mt. Brighton to offer access for Detroit youth.

2017: With Vail Resorts, SOS expands programs to Wilmot Mountain and Afton Alps to provide access for Chicago and Minneapolis youth respectively. 

Learn more about current SOS Programs