Academy programs are multi-day programs in which a new SOS core value is introduced and coupled with an outdoor activity daily. Academy programs empower students by making concrete connections between the activity and the meaning of the SOS core values, laying the foundation for future character development. Academy programs include Learn to Ride, Hut Trips, and Backyard Adventures.
Learn to Ride (LTR)
SOS’s largest program gives participants five days on the mountain with professional instruction, equipment rental, lift tickets and clothing use. LTR goes beyond the basics of snow sports by focusing each day on the core values of courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility. Each day begins with core value discussions and the day’s activities encourage kids to put those values into action.
Backyard Adventures is a week long day camp that exposes youth to a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Each day is made up of different activities, which teach participants new ways to play in their local surroundings and become familiar with the wilderness in their own backyard. This course includes hiking, rock climbing, low ropes courses, mountain biking, skateboarding, fly fishing and more. A day of service learning is also included to teach participants the value of giving back to the community. These service learning projects are geared towards outdoor recreation and the environment.
Introduction to Outdoor Recreation and Camping
Youth explore their local forests from the comfort of a stationary base camp. After spending the day hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking, students return to camp for nights of stargazing and storytelling. Each day, young explorers will learn the skills they need to safely enjoy outdoor sports. From the basics of camp setup and outdoor cooking, to teambuilding and playing in the wilderness this multi-day course allows youth to become pioneers in their pursuits as outdoor enthusiasts. This course is designed to introduce the beginner to outdoor recreation and camping and to enhance skills already learned.
Introduction to Backpacking and Wilderness Travel
This five-day, four-night course introduces teens and young adults to the art of backpacking, hiking, group leadership and backcountry travel. The first day and night will be spent in preparation at home base. Then, with their packs on their backs, youth will hike into the forest for four days of outdoor fun. Youth will return from their trip with improved self-esteem, new friendships, and a new appreciation of outdoor adventure.
4th Grade Monument Trips
Partnering with 4th grade public school classrooms, SOS extends the school’s curriculum of state geology and natural history in a hands-on setting. Students spend a week exploring the unique terrain of Colorado National Monument with classmates and SOS guides.
Expanding on the skills achieved in the introductory backpacking course or building on existing skills, this five-day, four-night course encourages student participation in route finding, logistics, and exploration. In hands-on activities students will work together to craft a new expedition approach to the area, implement their route, and share their journey. Discovering wilderness from a pioneer explorer perspective, students will document their travels and their thoughts into a storybook keepsake. This course is designed to deepen each youth’s relationship to outdoor adventure.
Outdoor Leadership Expedition
In this seven-day, six-night course, youth will become outdoor leaders by learning how to facilitate groups, manage logistics, create solutions, and develop self-efficacy. This course is designed for youth that want to explore ways to mentor or guide others both indoors and out. Students will learn the hard and soft skills necessary to become effective outdoor leaders during their time spent backpacking, camping, hiking and rock climbing. Students direct their wilderness experience under the guidance of field instructors for a fun and engaging time spent outdoors.