SOS Outreach youth leaders celebrate the 2012 Olympics in London |

SOS Outreach youth leaders celebrate the 2012 Olympics in London

Courtesy SOS OutreachSOS youth in front of the London Tower Bridge during the summer Olympics, on a trip emphasizing core values, community and leadership skills.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; and#8220;Dare you to moveand#8221; and#8212; these words were spoken to 56 youth at the conclusion of a week full of leadership and a lifetime full of memories. A local youth development charity was recently a part of a once-in-a lifetime experience, 18 youth and three staff from SOS Outreach attended the 2012 Summer London Olympics as part of the Playmakers program through Global Sports Development.

The youth from SOS programs around the USA were selected for their unbelievable commitment to SOS and for their execution of the SOS core values (courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and compassion). All of the selected youth have been a part of SOS for at least four years or more, as either junior mentors or as year-four participants. During their time in SOS, youth focus on developing leadership and advocacy skills along with become an active member of their community. While in London they not only attended Olympic events, but they embraced the culture of London and the Olympics, practiced random acts of kindness, enhanced their leadership development, and practiced living by the SOS core values.

This adventure really brought to light how youth today can be given amazing opportunities and then use them to inspire and fuel their own goals and dreams. With the theme of this yearand#8217;s Olympic Games being and#8220;Inspire a Generationand#8221; it blew the staff away to hear our own youthand#8217;s stories. Half way into the trip Bob Beamon, the holder of a 44-year-old Olympic record in long jump, spoke to the youth about working hard and being a leader when taking control of oneand#8217;s life. His story is an amazing one and as he shared his story filled with heartache and a hard upbringing, the youth listened. Mystic, one of the SOS youth on the trip, was touched by Boband#8217;s story: and#8220;His talk was very powerful especially because he has been through a lot. He inspired me to work harder in the sports that I play and that I can accomplish anything I want to in life.and#8221;

This trip was designed to continue enhancing the SOS youthand#8217;s leadership development through core value discussions, journal writing, the spirit of the Olympics, the culture of London, and future goals. The youth from SOS went above and beyond with the end result of 18 SOS youth who are nothing short of extraordinary returning home to continue on their journey of becoming leaders who make change!

Jack, a junior mentor who’s been with SOS for six years had this to say about the trip, and#8220;London 2012 is one of the best weeks of my life! It was an amazing experience that taught me so much about leadership, culture, and just how to be a better person. It was a time when people from three nations mixed for a week developing close bonds and everlasting friendships that will never be forgotten.and#8221;

SOS Outreach is going on its seventh season here in the Lake Tahoe region and its 19th nationally. SOS serves youth in 15 states and New Zealand and works with about 5,000 youth each year. SOS is looking for volunteers, coordinators, and mentors to help with programs at resorts all around the lake for the upcoming winter season. Contact Theresa Papandrea at or call 775-298-0260.

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