For more than 35 years, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) has provided life changing outdoor learning experiences to people of all abilities, with a focus on those with special needs. The BOEC provides a sense of freedom to those who are routinely excluded from activity due to a disability or special need. Whether skiing in the Adaptive Ski and Ride Program at Breckenridge or Keystone Ski Resorts, paddling the West’s great rivers, or mastering the Ropes Course, the BOEC inspires people of all abilities to discover new places, learn new skills and rekindle their spirit in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
We feature courses for both groups and individuals. Courses for agencies and groups are custom designed programs to include many different activities with particular goals in mind. We also offer camps and trips throughout the year designed for individual sign-ups. Most courses are based out of our Griffith Lodge in Breckenridge and all courses offer activities in and around some of the most exciting wilderness areas in Colorado, Utah and beyond.
The BOEC is accredited by the Association of Experiential Education and certified as one of the “Best in America” by Independent Charities of America.
Quick Facts about the BOEC
The Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (“BOEC”) was established in 1976 to help people with disabilities develop their potential through outdoor adventure experiences. Today, the BOEC offers a wide range of single day and multi-day programs for groups and individuals, both adaptive programs for people with special needs–mental and physical disabilities, serious illness and youth-at-risk-and all-ability programs for youth, adults and professional groups. Programs are offered throughout the year.
There are five Programs at the BOEC:
- The Adaptive Ski/Ride Program operates at the Breckenridge and Keystone ski resorts. Full and half day lessons are available for groups and individuals. Adaptive Nordic ski lessons also available at the Breckenridge Nordic Center.
- The Adaptive Wilderness Program operates on a beautiful campus located at the base of the ski hill in Breckenridge, Colorado, and also provides “mobile” wilderness programs in areas throughout Colorado and Utah.
- The Internship Program is an extensive, semester long training and work experience in adaptive recreation and education.
- The Youth Wilderness Program offers wilderness courses for schools and youth organizations, tailored to their specific needs and goals.
- Professional Challenge offers hand-on team building seminars for professional groups, either in support of a corporate retreat or as an on-site training.
The BOEC conducts approximately 7000 participant days annually, serving 3000 individuals per year. The BOEC provides over $150,000 per year in scholarships for participants with financial needs.
Activities offered include: rock climbing, wilderness camping, whitewater rafting, canoeing, handcycling, high and low ropes courses, team building initiatives, downhill and cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. All activities are adapted to the needs and abilities of our clients. We strive to welcome everyone.
The Wilderness Campus sits on a 39-acre parcel of forested land situated at the base of Peak 9 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The campus features a sub-alpine lake, lodge and cabin facilities and accessible trails.
Mobile Wilderness courses include hiking in the Gore Range of Colorado, whitewater rafting on the upper Colorado River, canoeing in Ruby and Horsethief Canyons in Colorado and Labyrinth Canyon in Utah, sea kayaking on Lake Powell and many other venues throughout the Rocky Mountains and Desert Southwest.
The BOEC also offers a unique training practicum and work experience for those wanting to expand their professional expertise in wilderness therapy. The BOEC Internship is a 5 to 6-month program, one in the winter, one in the summer, open to 24 individuals. Room, board and a modest stipend are provided.
BOEC conducts research into the effectiveness of its programs with partners such as the US Department of Education, Department of Rehabilitative Services and Colorado Department of Education. Programs have shown significant positive impact on participants’ lives. The Center also partners with equipment manufacturers in research and development for adaptive technology.
The BOEC is a Colorado 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Through various special events and contributions from individuals, agencies and foundations from around the country, the BOEC is able to provide high quality programs that are affordable and accessible. Scholarships are available to those who would otherwise not be able to participate in our programs.
Who does the BOEC serve?
The BOEC has something for everyone who seeks outdoor adventure. Educational experiences are offered for people with physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities, people from low-income backgrounds or disadvantaged environments, people looking for more team unity in their workplace, people learning English as their second language. . . the list goes on and on. Courses are custom-designed for specific agency groups and individuals are welcome to sign up for our open-enrollment programs. Volunteer and internship opportunities are available for people of all backgrounds and abilities, including those with disabilities and special needs.
Our clientele include:
- People with physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities
- People from low-income backgrounds or disadvantaged environments
- People looking for more team unity in their workplace
- People learning English as their second language
- Youth seeking leadership development
It is said that “Attitudes are the real disabilities.” The BOEC endorses this view and welcomes all who are interested to become part of a very unique family. Simply contact us and we will find an educational experience that is perfect for you and your needs.
View our past Annual Reports below:
“Working here at the BOEC has left me with many memories and such a great fulfillment. The many beaming smiles, pushing through the tears, to the resounding cheers of encouragement and accomplishment, the lives we touched and challenged to grow more, think bigger and be better – it will all stay with me forever.”
— Melanie Chivers, Winter Intern 2001-2002, Summer Course Director 2002