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686 Compton Snow Club Gives At-Risk Kids an Outlet Through Riding and Mentoring

October 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

We are constantly blown away by how much our members give back and get involved in their communities, and the 686 Compton Snow Club is a truly inspiring example of this. When 686 moved their offices to the Compton neighborhood of LA, the first thing they wanted to do was give back to their neighbors. The area is known for ghettos and gang violence, and it’s a tough place to try to raise kids and keep them off the street. 686 connected with the Boys and Girls Club to start the Snow Club last year, and it’s been an unbelievable source of growth and inspiration for both the kids and the Snow Club organizers from the start.  I caught up with Brent Sandor, Marketing Director for 686 and Westlife Distribution, to find out more about how the club got started and how their first year went.


The entire Compton Snow Club with the famous Mt High Yeti. 

Bobby: Tell us a little bit about how the idea for Compton Snow Club came about. When did you get it started, and how was it received when you approached the Boys & Girls Club?

Brent: The Compton Snow Club started just over one year ago. 686 had recently moved into our new Compton Headquarters and wanted to give back to the youth of the local community. We are so lucky having grown up in the mountains, on the beach or on a skate ramp and we wanted to share that with kids who may never know that these outlets are available to them. Compton is just 15 minutes from the ocean, yet none of the kids at the local Boys & Girls Club had even surfed before. The Boys & Girls club welcomed us with open arms. They helped us set up the program that has a core group of 12-15 kids that we meet with weekly. In order to be in the Compton Snow Club the kids must regularly attend the Boys & Girls Club (this helps keep them out of the troubles that arise in their local neighborhoods), have good grades in school, finish their homework and overall be following the rules of the Club. It’s a privilege, not a right, to be in The Compton Snow Club and it’s not only a reward to the kids, but has been beyond rewarding to all of us that volunteer weekly. 


The great thing about our sport is the intimacy. The kids got to share chairlifts with the team riders – you won’t see that in stick and ball sports.

Bobby: Were there any challenges with starting the program? It had to have included a lot of logistics with gear, transportation, etc.

 Brent: It was an easy setup. Since we work with the Boys & Girls Club, they have their own van that they can take the kids around in. We split time between going to their facilities in Compton and them coming to us. We skate, snowboard or surf about 1/3 of the time we spend with the kids and the rest is spent in each other’s buildings, exposing them to different art, photography and business aspects. I know that snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing and art saved me from being a knucklehead when I was a kid and that working at a shop provided me the foresight that life doesn’t have to be a suit and tie everyday – that you can make a living, be creative and have fun in our industry. We want to show the kids this as well. Of course interacting on the board is a huge part of it, though. These are the times when the kids grow, learn and conquer new things. The beach is super close and we have a covered mini-ramp, so that covers a lot of the year. When we go snowboarding it’s a quick trip to Mountain High or Bear Mountain, which are each within a couple hours of LA, so day trips are easy. We were able to get the kids all the outerwear, layering and gloves they needed from our stock. Dragon kicked down eyewear, Mountain High and Bear were great with tickets and rentals for everyone and Mountain High even provided lessons for them. Zumiez has been down for the cause and hooked the kids up with VIP passes to the TransAm finals as well. Everywhere we go people are super supportive. That makes it pretty easy for us.


Peace! Every now and then a pile up would happen. Everyone walked away with nothing but smiles each and every time. 

Bobby:  Once you got the kids on snow, what were their reactions? Had they seen snow before? Any specific stories you can share? And overall, how did you feel it went? 

Brent: The kids were beyond thrilled. Some had never seen snow ever. Some picked it up more than others, but by the end of the day everyone had done a few laps. It was awesome to watch the raw energy of the kids. Forest Bailey and one of the kids, Damarion, didn’t even wait for the lesson. Forest just helped Damarion as he started him down the mountain. By the time the instruction had started Damarion was already whizzing by the group, gaining speed until he would fall, and then doing it all over again. It was hilarious. We all started by falling and these kids remind you that it’s still the same method, no matter how you try to teach them. I also remember being on the lift at Bear, the second time we took them riding, with two of the kids. It was the longest lift ride they had taken to date. It was the first time they commented on the beauty of the mountains, they asked what animals lived there and other questions related to a brand new environment. It was amazing watching their minds slow down enough to appreciate their surroundings and how different the mountains can make you feel from the city. It was awesome to see that our team riders and employees that were present on the mountain with the kids got just as much, if not more, out of the day than the club. Forest Bailey, Mike Gray, Melissa Evans and the whole Marketing and Art Department from 686 left the day saying it was one of the best days of their lives. Everyone was all smiles all day, reliving our own first days on snow through the kids. 


When others were trying to learn methodically during the day, Damarion and Forest were gone, fast and far down the hill. It was his first time ever in snow.

Bobby: What are your plans for the club for the upcoming season?

Brent: We will continue to skate and snowboard through the winter with the kids as well as spend weekly time with them mentoring and exposing them to new things. We are talking to SOS Outreach about a possible overnight trip up in Tahoe to meet other underprivileged youth, as well as spend time in a town with snow on the ground. SOS has been a great organization to talk to as they have been doing this type of thing for years and have great guidance. We will also be working on some new shirts, stickers and buttons with the kids that we will sell to raise money for our trips to the mountain. 

Check out some of the fun had by all at the Compton Snow Club’s first day on snow:

686 presents The Compton Snow Club from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

Thanks so much to Brent at 686 for sharing the info on this great program. We’re wishing the Compton Snow Club tons of success and fun in the upcoming season. Find out more about the Compton Snow Club, and check out the latest news at 686. We’re looking forward to seeing the 686 crew at the 2016 Snow Show to get the latest update on the Compton Snow Club!

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