Arn Menconi, Executive Director of Avon-based youth nonprofit SOS Outreach, is on the road attending various ski and snowboard industry trade shows and conferences. He’ll be sending periodic dispatches from the events, telling readers what’s new and interesting in the world of snow sports. This dispatch comes from the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show in Denver.
Denver, CO (February 3, 2014) -- SOS Outreach held the 5th Annual Youth Summit during the Snowsports Industries American Snow Show, recognizing corporate contributions to youth development. This year, SOS Outreach presented the Social Impact Award in Youth Development to Nicky DeFord of Vail Resorts Echo and Chaos Hats. Not only have these recipients helped SOS Outreach a great deal in years past, but they continue to positively affect the communities they serve.
The Youth summit commenced with opening remarks from SIA President David Ingemie, who highlighted SOS’s impacts throughout the nation. By the end of this winter, the organization will have served 3,700 at-risk youth across 22,000 program days at 32 mountain resorts. David remarked that SOS is teaching these students to extend their compassion into their communities.
A quintessential example of an individual who is positively affecting the lives of others is Kevin Pearce, the keynote speaker at Saturday’s event. Kevin recently showed his film “Crash Reel” at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center, depicting his rise to snowboarding stardom and prolific rivalry with Shaun White. Pearce’s prolific career was stifled when he suffered a traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 Olympics. After being in a coma for a week and having to relearn most ordinary things, Kevin is now spearheading the “Love Your Brain” campaign, promoting helmet awareness around the globe. Kevin’s story is one of immense courage, making him a natural spokesman for SOS’s mission and SOS’s core values. As he said on Saturday, “When you fall, you get back up.”
Both Chaos Headwear and Nicky DeFord display that same commitment to SOS’s mission. In addition to making great hats, Chaos Headwear has been giving consistently to youth nonprofits for over a decade. The company demonstrates extraordinary commitment to outdoor outreach organizations around the world including SOS Outreach, Outdoor Outreach, Big City Mountaineers, Boys & Girls Club of Denver, Steamboat Winter Sports Club and Vail Veterans to name a few. The award demonstrates deep appreciation for the Tock family, who own Do-Gree Mills and the Chaos Brand with President Richard Tock at the helm, David Tock as Vice President, Matthew Tock in marketing and product development and Adam Tock in production.
Nicky DeFord is being recognized for her management of Vail Resorts Echo, the company’s corporate stewardship program. Ms. DeFord is responsible for the consistent growth of Vail Resort Inc’s charitable contributions. VR Echo currently contributes $6.5 million in grants annually to more than 220 different charities to serve local populations and protect local landscapes. Highlights of the impact Nicky is creating through the Echo program include: Nearly 16,000 annual hours volunteered by Vail Resorts employees;$500,000 raised each year for healthy forests; and 2,500 kids who have never been on a chairlift learning the passion of skiing through SOS Outreach.
The recipients of the Social Impact Award are powerful role-models for today’s youth, as well as others in the snowsports community. Nicky DeFord and Chaos Hats stand as an example of how the ski and snowboard industry can positively affect the lives of underserved youth through their commitment to our kids. The 5th Annual Youth Summit celebrated another great year of youth development, and inspired all attendees to work even harder to provide a positive influence for kids around the country.