Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center

The mission of the BOEC is to expand the potential of people with disabilities and special needs through meaningful, educational and inspiring outdoor experiences. The BOEC's goal is to provide participants the opportunity to learn new skills, experience pristine natural areas, challenge themselves

Learn More About This Non-Profit
Start a movement
Want to do more for your favorite charity? We've made it easy for you to raise money by creating a personalized fundraising page.
Start a fundraiser Current fundraisers (0)

Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Blind & Vision Impaired
Deaf & Hearing Impaired
Disabled
Military/Veterans
Physically Disabled nec

Description

The Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program, with operations at the Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper Mountain Ski Resorts.

The Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program makes alpine and cross-country (Nordic) skiing and snowboarding available to people with physical and mental disabilities or other special needs on an individual or a group basis. Participants are provided adaptive equipment, instruction and ski buddies. The BOEC provides adaptive skiing for all disabilities including four-track, three-track, mono-skiing, bi-skiing, and sit skis. The majority of instruction and skiing occurs at the Breckenridge Ski Resort where the Center has access to all parts of the ski area. Lessons are also offered at the Keystone Resort, Copper Mountain and the Breckenridge and Frisco Nordic Centers. The Breckenridge and Keystone Resorts, owned by Vail Resorts, are major supporters of the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program, making a significant contribution to the program by providing complementary tickets, as well as supporting the program in countless other ways.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

BOEC's Adaptive Ski and Snowboard program, located at Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper Mountain Ski Resorts, saw an 8.2% increase in programming days from the previous fiscal year. In total, 3,579 program days served 1,320 adults and children, with a wide array of disabilities and special needs, a 6.8% increase. Participants came from across Colorado (46%) and the U.S. (48%), as well as from around the world (2%), to experience the joys of adaptive skiing and snowboarding through our world-class program.

BOEC continues to bring back repeat individual and group participants year-after-year, but also works hard to attract new clients in order to keep the program sustainable. Longtime returning groups in the 2018-19 fiscal year included the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), Children's Hospital Colorado, Evergreen Parks & Recreation, FRIENDS of Broomfield, King Adult Day Enrichment Program (KADEP), Team Semper Fi, The Not Forgotten Association (NFA), and Fox Valley Institute. A few new groups were added to the slate including the Pikes Peak Shredders, a Special Olympics group from Colorado Springs, and the Roundup School also from Colorado Springs.

We also added a fleet of new mono-skis, bi-skis and ski bikes to our already impressive collection thanks to our generous supporters.

Adaptive Wilderness Program

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Blind & Vision Impaired
Deaf & Hearing Impaired
Disabled
Military/Veterans
Physically Disabled nec

Description

Wilderness Program-Accessible whitewater rafting, canoeing, camping, backpacking, snowshoeing, ropes course, climbing wall and team initiatives. Courses are based out of our 39-acre Breckenridge program site and also travel to scenic outdoor areas in Colorado and Utah.

The BOEC's Wilderness Program includes both campus-based and wilderness-based activities. The BOEC has a unique accessible "wilderness" campus with ADA accessible trails, a lake with an accessible fishing pier and wetlands observation deck, and accessible ropes courses, climbing walls and team initiatives. This campus is a hidden gem, located on the edge of Breckenridge between Peaks 8 and 9 of the Breckenridge Ski Resort, thus giving participants a backcountry feel, yet with easy access to amenities and medical care.

The Wilderness Program enrolls youth through schools, agencies, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Agencies recruit or choose their clients who will attend the BOEC's programs. Individuals not affiliated with a group can enroll in an "open enrollment" program with others in a similar age group and ability level.

Wilderness Programs range from 1-14 days and are conducted at our Breckenridge campus and in U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management natural areas. Core offerings in the summer include accessible whitewater rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, sea kayaking, camping, backpacking, ropes course, climbing wall and team initiatives. In the winter months, offerings include adaptive skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2019, the BOEC received re-accreditation from the Association of Experiential Education (AEE). Every five years, the BOEC must undergo a stringent peer review of its policies and procedures to be re-accredited by this governing body of experiential education. The AEE report stated that "The BOEC is a model program in the industry. Their work in adaptive outdoor experiential programs is unparalleled. The activities are taught in ways that demonstrates experiential education best practices. The organization is clearly mission driven and every staff member can articulate the mission in a personal and meaningful way."

In 2019, BOEC's year-round Wilderness Program served 1,450 students for a total of 4,485 programming days. Of those participants, 70% hailed from Colorado and 30% came from across the U.S. Participants came to us with a wide assortment of disabilities and special needs, including ALS, brain injuries, cerebral palsy (CP), cleft lip and palate, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's Disease, sensory integration dysfunctions, and spinal cord injuries.

Also thanks to generous donors, in 2019 we were able to add much-needed program equipment and replace some aging vehicles. We procured an entire fleet of new adaptive kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, all the bells and whistles to make a phenomenal experience for our students. We also purchased two new vehicles - a truck and SUV - enhancing our ability to transport equipment and smaller groups to and from mobile program locations.

There were a number of returning agencies and groups, with many of them having partnered with BOEC from five to over 20 years. Some of these longtime partners include Adventures Within for MS, the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC), Basalt School District, Children's Hospital Colorado (Aurora), Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Serendipity, Summit Outdoor Adventure Program (SOAP), Vail Mountain School, and Wounded Heroes Family Adventures (WHFA).

We are also very proud to add to our growing list of valued partners with some new programs this past year, including Camp Forget Me Not for children who are dealing with the death of a family member, Minds Eye Retreat for adults living with visual impairments, and Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic - in conjunction with Children's Hospital Colorado Springs - for children to spend quality time with others who share a similar diagnosis.

Internship Program

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

One of the best training programs in the world for young professionals learning to work with special need populations.

The BOEC feels that the most effective way to help people with special needs is to train the people who work with them. This unique program allows interns to develop skills in adaptive recreation and experiential education, while they get hands-on experience staffing BOEC programs. As a result, interns share these lessons with other programs and persons throughout the world. At the same time, it gives the BOEC program staff a labor pool with specific training with a replacement value of approximately $150,000 annually for a true cash cost of just over $52,000 a year.

In over 45 years, the BOEC has trained over 1,000 volunteer intern-instructors in a unique, semester long-experiential format. Twice a year, in the winter and summer season, an intern group of 12 educators lives at the BOEC campus while receiving training needed to work with special populations. An Internship Coordinator oversees this program full-time, year-round. Many of BOEC's interns are completing college degrees in the fields of Therapeutic Recreation, Parks and Recreation Management and Experiential Education, while others may be offering back the experiences of their more seasoned lives.

BOEC Interns receive instruction and hands-on experience in working with special populations beginning with an intensive, three-week training at the start of each Internship residency. Continuing education throughout the season is a part of the internship experience in order to supplement and diversify their skill base beyond their on-the-job activities.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2019 the BOEC continued the strong Intern Program tradition with the training of 26 dynamic, young individuals interested in the fields of Outdoor/Experiential Education, Therapeutic Recreation, and Recreation Management. These 14 winter and 12 summer interns were immersed into the field to gain professional experience and knowledge in this growing field. To date, we have graduated over 1,000 talented individuals, many of whom have gone on to work in the adaptive outdoor education and therapeutic recreation fields in the U.S. and worldwide.

Heroic Military Program

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Blind & Vision Impaired
Military
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Veterans

Description

Each year BOEC hosts year-round military and veteran's events designed to bring families together and help America's veterans with their recovery and healing process. BOEC's Heroic Military Program is open to veterans, active duty military and members of the Guard and Reserve. Our programs are designed to suit the unique needs of those who have been injured while serving our country and are faced with new challenges associated with recovery. Because family members are critical to the healing process, they are welcome to participate in many of our classes.

We are proud to offer this program at low or no-cost to active military members and veterans from anywhere in the United States. The winter program consists of a number of ski and snowboard opportunities using the highest quality instruction and equipment at BOEC's Breckenridge Adaptive Ski & Snowboard School and Keystone Adaptive Center. The summer program consists of a number of mountain retreats, river trips, trainings and camps that feature exhilarating adventure activities, the highest quality instruction and equipment, and some of the most beautiful and exciting venues in the Rocky Mountain West.

All of BOEC's Heroic Military Program offerings feature activities to which both the experienced and those totally inexperienced are welcome to apply. Due to generous support from our sponsors, all or most costs are covered-lodging, meals, equipment, and some travel-depending on the offering. However, we have limited funds-so apply early! BOEC also specializes in creating customized programs for military groups.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

BOEC's year-round Heroic Military Program provides programs and events designed to bring families together and help America's veterans with their recovery and healing process. Additionally, this program provides a platform for these individuals to find connections with other veterans dealing with similar circumstances. Once again in 2019, this program continued to provide just that, delivering 1,183 program days to 80 disabled veterans and 80 of their family members. A total of $139,776 in restricted grants and contributions allowed these veterans and their families to participate at little or no cost to them as well as buy new equipment for our Heroic Military Programming. We are especially grateful to the Department of Veteran Affairs, from which the majority of this funding originates.

BOEC's Wilderness Program ran six trips and camps for 38 disabled service members and 80 family members. These events included Wounded Heroes Mountain Family Adventures, EOD Warrior Foundation, Heroic Families Wilderness Adventures, Heroic Family San Juan River Trip, Heroic Families Ruby-HorseThief/Westwater River Trip, and Heroic Womens Ruby-HorseThief/Westwater River Trip.

The Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program delivered another spectacular lineup of courses in 2019, including Team Semper Fi, The NFA, Wounded Heroes Family Ski Week (WHFSW), and USABA. Two long-standing week-long events also returned with the Keystone Adaptive Military Camp at our Keystone Adaptive Center (KAC) and The Hartford Ski Spectacular at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Volunteer Program

Class

Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
General population
Teachers
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

The BOEC has a fully developed and very active volunteer program during the winter and summer seasons that includes over 400 volunteers.

During the winter months, from November to April, volunteers assist with Adaptive Ski and Snowboard lessons at Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain Resorts. Volunteers are paired with a student and lead instructor and spend the day on the slopes! Duties may include, but are certainly not limited to: encouraging students, brainstorming creative ways to improve adaptive skiing and riding skills, assisting with loading and unloading clients on lifts, and following clients on the slopes to help increase visibility and ensure student safety. Summer opportunities include volunteering for the Adaptive Cycling Program, driving shuttles for river trips, and assisting on the ropes course. Volunteer opportunities are also available special events including Banff Film Festival and Tee It Up Golf Scramble.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

For 45 years, BOEC's volunteers have been the backbone of the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program, providing a countless number of hours towards providing a seamless experience and much-needed support to our instructors and students. 2019 was no different as upwards of 335 volunteers completed 19,844 hours. The Volunteer Program also functions during the summer months as these generous individuals support the summer Wilderness Program, primarily with the adaptive cycling camps and special events, including the Banff Mountain Film Festival and Tee It Up Golf Scramble.

The BOEC could not do what it does without the enormous amount of time and energy provided by its volunteers, and for that, we are extremely thankful!

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.