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SOARing Through the Decades: 1980s

by: Anna LoPinto

“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” 

– Thomas Berry

The 80s were marked by massive advancements in technology, and media. Though this changing environment was exciting, it also signaled a growing distance from the natural world. SOAR provided a space for youth and young adults with ADHD/LD (and their families) to find solace. If the 70s was SOAR’s infancy, the 80s was its adolescence. It was a time of tremendous growth and “firsts” for SOAR.

Here are a few of the exciting “firsts” we achieved in the 1980s:

  • First winter expeditions in Rockies of Colorado
  • First Ropes Course in Houston, TX
  • First courses in Smoky Mountains of North Carolina
  • First weekend courses in North Carolina
  • First annual “SOAR Eagle Run” fundraiser
  • First Christmas Keys Adventure
  • First Ropes Course in Balsam, NC
  • First offering of Academic Challenge Program
  • First offering of Family Adventure Program
  • First offering of Spring Tortugas Course
  • First Fall Semester Course on Appalachian Trail

In addition to these firsts, SOAR also established the Outdoor Learning Center in Balsam, NC. The headquarters of our SOAR programs to this day! 

A clear vision, community support, and a hardworking team helped set SOAR on the trajectory to be the leaders in outdoor education and recreation for youth with ADHD/LD. As our programs grew, so did our aspiration to reach and provide services to more people, and this mission only gained momentum in the next decades.

Would you like to be an integral part of our mission? Please consider donating $45 for our 45 years of stewardship. As a 501©(3) nonprofit, your donations will be used for our Scholarship Endowment Fund. We envision a day when any child with learning or attention challenges will have an opportunity to experience SOAR’s life-changing adventures. We thank you for your continued support and interest in SOAR.

Next month, the 90s!



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