- 01 January 2013
- by Lauren Wethers
Travis Tafoya is definitely not your average teenager. First of all, he’s a competitive snowboarder that attends the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy in Colorado. As if being a great athlete weren’t enough, he is also impressively dedicated to volunteering. Between volunteering with SOS Outreach, the Eagle River Youth Coalition's Youth Leaders Council, and various other organizations, it’s a wonder he has time for school at all.
“The most rewarding part about volunteering to me is the passion that you encounter,” said Travis. “When volunteering, I have noticed that almost everyone involved feels so strongly for what they are helping with. To see this type of passion is spectacular.” Travis is able to combine his passion for snowboarding with his dedication to service with the Snowboard Outreach Society (SOS), where he both learned to snowboard and helps with Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets. He also helps with their annual charity bike ride and works with a group of younger children to inspire in them the same love of snowboarding that he cherishes.
SOS Outreach is not the only organization that has changed his outlook on life, however. “Before YLC,” he stated, “I didn’t know that other teens would be so committed to giving back to their communities. YLC has made me want to commit more to service.” Travis has done great work with YLC as well – they developed a project to inform about teen pregnancy in the area, served as a teen board to help adults understand drug and alcohol usage of teenagers in the valley, and organized a toy drive. Amazingly, that’s not even the end of the list for the teen organization, or for Travis himself.
As his high school years come to a close, Travis hopes to attend a four-year university for a degree in philosophy or psychology and stay active in competitive snowboarding. He encourages other teens to volunteer in their communities as well. “I believe teens should volunteer because of the various things you can learn from volunteering,” he says. “Volunteering has taught me humility, compassion, and understanding. It is a vital part of society and can give you wonderful experiences and opportunities. To me, service is helping – whether it be cleaning your grandma’s lawn or teaching new skills to underprivileged kids.” One thing is for sure – this Colorado teen is going to go far.