Becoming a More Accessible Community

Anyone who’s ever ventured to a ski resort or wandered into a snow gear shop is immediately smacked in the face by exorbitant prices for most everything revolving around snow sports. Due to high sticker prices for gear, clothing and lift tickets, skiing and snowboarding exclude large pockets of the population. It’s a problem that should be remedied, especially for youth who can learn so much from snow adventures.

You’ve probably gleaned from our ongoing projects that AI has a soft spot for assisting youth—helping to build community homes in Kenya for kids orphaned by AIDS and partnering with Hope for Madagascar. So we wanted to take this opportunity to spotlight several organizations that are doing amazing work in the United States to provide at-risk youth with opportunities to simultaneously participate in the snow sports community while also growing as individuals.

SOS Outreach

With offices in Colorado (Avon, Denver and Frisco), Seattle, Washington and Incline Village, Nevada, SOS works with more than 150 schools, after school programs and youth agencies in order to reach at risk kids between the ages of 8 – 18. The organization engages youth in adventure activities—including skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing—in several different long-term programs.

These programs empower students through leadership training, adult mentors, life skills workshops, community service, and other activities and trainings. There are many ways in which you can volunteer to become involved with their worthwhile mission.

Chill Foundation

Originally based out of Burlington, Vermont, the Chill Foundation has expanded to multiple cities and communities across the United States and Canada, including Boston, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Chicago. Through six-week long programs, the foundation uses board sports to help underserved and at-risk youth develop better self-esteem and learn important life skills.

In April of 2013, AI awarded the Chill Foundation with a $5,000 Grass Roots Grant to support the organization’s significant work. More than 17,500 youth have been introduced to snowboarding through the foundation. Learn how to volunteer with this amazing group of people!

Mue Youth Support

You may already be familiar with Mue Apparel for hardcore riders, but perhaps have not heard of their budding youth program. The relatively new organization Mue Youth Support (started in 2012) is dedicated to exposing Milwaukie’s inner city youth to snowboarding, skiing or skating. Between the winter of 2012 and summer of 2013, the number of participants expanded from three youth to about 20. From snowboarding lessons at Devil’s Head Resort to hilarious crab walk races and volleyball tournaments in Milwaukee, staff and youth are working to bring more active events and opportunities to inner city youth.

Check out their website to discover how you can assist this growing organization. (And as a relatively new nonprofit ourselves, we can tell you there are many ways to help a new organization take flight!)

By AI Blog contributor: Megan Parks