SOS Outreach was founded in 1993 as an organization intending to provide access to recreational activities in the High Rockies to low-income Denver youth. At the time, all youth invited to participate in SOS programs had never ventured outside the Denver Metro area. Residing in low-income housing with limited access to robust outdoor recreation, positive adult mentorship, and risk prevention education, early SOS youth were selected based on their increased likelihood of engaging in high-risk activities that would subject them to early drug and alcohol use, academic and behavioral difficulty, teen pregnancy, and court involvement.
As the organization developed, providing opportunities in the outdoors to Colorado's most deserving youth remained the core tenant of SOS' mission. As the demographics of the state began to shift, the percentage of low-income households in resort areas surged. In response, SOS expanded its reach to provide programs in Eagle and Summit Counties, Steamboat Springs, Leadville, and Durango. SOS further extended into Lake Tahoe, CA, Park City, UT, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. SOS currently offers best-practice, evidence-based and progressive programs in 9 states and 15 communities, engaging over 3,000 youth nationally. Each program promotes self-respect, positive relationships, social skills, and training in SOS' core values (courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility) combined with participation in outdoor adventure sports.
Founded in 1993, SOS has served over 80,000 youth by engaging participants in a multi-year values-based leadership curriculum. Since our founding, our programs have witnessed significant growth in participant numbers, expanded across winter and summer adventure sports, and incorporated a youth development, leadership training, and adult mentorship curriculum. In 2009, SOS merged with Meet the Wilderness, a 34-year-old summer-based organization that enabled SOS to incorporate year-round programming and increase positive engagement with youth throughout the summer months.