about Clay Soper Memorial Fund (csmf)
Our mission: To educate youth about the circumstances of Clay’s death and, promote his passion of appreciating and connecting youth from different cultures.
We established the Clay Soper Memorial Fund (CSMF) because we wanted to make a difference in Clay’s memory. His tragic death was something we felt needed to be
talked about and understood. He should not have died - he made a bad decision that
is common within party culture today. He died because of what he and his friends “DIDN’T” know.
Clay was a unique person. He possessed an inviting personality and sense of humor that made people naturally feel comfortable and safe with him. He appreciated differences and thrived on learning about people’s backgrounds. He touched more people in his 19 years than some do in an entire lifetime.
The CSMF seeks to educate youth about Clay’s death and how to avoid such a tragic accident as well as, promote his passion of connecting youth from different cultures and promote acceptance, kindness, and understanding of differences.
CSMF has three initiatives;
1) "IF THEY HAD KNOWN" —
A documentary spoken BY kids TO kids about the risks associated with current party culture. We hope to educate every high school and college student coast to coast about the toxic risks of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.
2) CLAY CONNECTIONS —
program partnered with Youth Enrichment Services (YES), Boston, MA
The Clay Connections program connects inner city and suburban middle school students together to help create an awareness, appreciation and desire to learn about people from different cultures and backgrounds and promote acceptance, kindness, and understanding of differences. and;
3) CLAY SOPER MEMORIAL WEEKEND CHAMPIONSHIP —
In memory of Clay, a passionate skier and ski racer, the Clay Soper Memorial Weekend Championship is an annual alpine ski race held at Clay's home mountain, Waterville Valley, NH. It is a two day, USSA sanctioned event which celebrates the New England "weekend racer’s" commitment to ski racing and awards their personal growth within the sport.
Clayton Willis Soper
1995 - 2015
Documentary: “If They Had Known”
Shortly after Clay’s death a group of his friends (who were with him the night he died) gathered at our house for support. Out of this meeting the idea of producing a documentary spoken BY kids, TO kids, about how tragedy can happen to anyone
was born. Clay’s friends needed people to know and learn from their loss….and it needed to be produced in a manner that was truthful and different - something that would resonate with their contemporaries.
We spent a year and half interviewing Clay’s friends, family, fraternity brothers and college friends, ski world, and experts. No one thought Clay was in any danger that night - how does this happen? Our film focuses on the reality of party culture today. It is not a film about addiction or substance abuse. It is a film about “typical” youth and how what they
DIDN'T know caused their friend to die.
For more information about "If They Had Known" or to find out about hosting a showing click here.
The film will have a broad distribution including high schools, colleges and communities across the country. If you would like to see this film shown in your community or school, please submit your contact information in the form below.
YES program for middle school kids: “CLAY CONNECTIONS”
The Clay Soper Memorial Fund has partnered with Youth Enrichment Services (YES) a Boston-based youth enrichment program designed to provide inner city kids an opportunity to experience the pride of achievement through outdoor adventure, to create the CLAY CONNECTIONS program. This very special program was established in memory of Clay who served as a junior volunteer throughout his high school years. During his time with YES Clay's appreciation of differences and love for learning about people's backgrounds grew. Clay grew as a person because of his YES experience.
His ability to connect and bring people together was something unique and special.
He appreciated differences and thrived on learning about people’s backgrounds.
The CLAY CONNECTIONS program aims to bring together students from different backgrounds to learn about acceptance, kindness, and understanding of people’s differences – core values which Clay embraced throughout his life. More than 35 students from Winchester’s McCall Middle School and Dorchester’s Neighborhood House Charter School participate in the program. These young people – from very different backgrounds – will work together on team building and participate in
sports-based activities while building friendships and gaining an appreciation of
their differences. YES looks forward to continuing the CLAY CONNECTIONS program
with a new set of students each year.
Clay Soper Memorial Weekend Championship
Clay's passion for skiing began at a little hill in Massachusetts called Bradford Mountain. By the time Clay was 10, he had moved on to the WVBBTS Ski Club located in Waterville Valley, NH where he competitively raced as a "weekend racer" until he left for college. As a "weekend racer", he made the most out of the time he had on the slopes. He remained very competitive (while competing against full-time athletes), learned life-long skills, made great friends and enjoyed pursuing his passion of skiing. The Clay Soper Memorial Weekend Championship will celebrate the New England "weekend racer’s" commitment to ski racing and award their personal growth within the sport. CSMWC was established as a two day, USSA sanctioned event consisting
of one day of Slalom and one day of Giant Slalom.
With the help of our supporters, we WILL make a difference in Clay’s memory.
"Richard Williams, the founder
of Youth Enrichment Services (YES) believed in the idea that humans helping humans is a powerful thing that can change lives for the better.
I could not agree more with him and through my time at YES my belief
in humanity has risen."
— Clay Soper, 2014