BOEC in the News

Great Times at Hope Mountain Camp

Posted Monday, July 11th, 2011 by Bruce

Hope Mountain Camp, an American Cancer Society camp for siblings of children with cancer, happened June 24-27 and this is my traditional recap……except this is going to be the BEST one yet!!

This year we did the same activities, but in NEW places. We camped on Friday and Saturday nights, both in amazing places. We rock climbed at Camp Hale (very beautiful and very interesting place) and we rafted the Colorado River. As per tradition, we tackled the ropes course on the last day.

Why such little commentary you may ask…. well this year I have the BEST thing ever for you all…. you get to actually SEE and FEEL camp. One of our amazing campers filmed the entire weekend and made a video!! I really really REALLY hope all of you will take the 10 minutes and watch the video ALL the way through, its so amazing and really gives you a good peak at how special Hope Mountain Camp is.. and what it means to our kids who come.

Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM0b-IdJc8s

I also want to share with all of you a poem that this same camper wrote. She was inspired by our sharing circle and how the kids really rallied around each other. This year, I saw more positivity and encouragement than I had ever seen before during our circle…. and as always their strength and insight inspires and touches me.

Here is the poem:

Green, Yellow, Red, Green

A poem by Kaylee Pratt, Inspired by Hope Mountain Camp

Yellow light, red light, green light,
GO!
We’re born in this world
With nothing to know.
You play in the sun,
You play in the snow,
But then you get sick,
And go through chemo.

Life is a road,
And you are the car.
You can’t control death
To be near or be far.
Of all the places,
You go and you see,
You look through a window,
With no liberty.

An octagon sign
That tells you to stop.
The road is too short,
But in case there’s a cop,
You lay on the breaks,
And gather your thoughts,
And watch all the healthy
Pedestrians cross.

Sometimes you may help
Hitchhikers so sad,
A sibling, a friend,
A mom, or a dad.
They heal your scars,
You brush off their sand,
But sometimes you cry harder
When they hold your hand.

And sometimes a blessing
May cross your path.
A beautiful butterfly
Whose name was once Zach,
A bumper sticker
That may make you laugh,
A pretty new wig
Or a new floppy hat.

No U-turns,
No turning around,
One way street
Where maturity is found.
It’s been quite a while
Since your feet touched the ground.
Your road is as long
As your golden heart pounds.

You pass all the lights,
But follow the signs.
You play it safe,
Don’t cross yellow lines.
I have been here
With your hand in mine.
And really, the road
Is bumpy but fine.

Yellow light, red light, green light,
GO!
You’ve made it through
Much more than you know.
I’ve seen you hide,
And I’ve watched you grow.
You’ve reached the highway:
A long, smooth road.

I also want to take the time to thank the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center… the staff there really worked with me on putting together the best Hope Mountain Camp we could under our circumstances and our course director remains to be the BEST we’ve ever had (I shudder to think what I might have to do to work with someone different). She keeps us organized, on schedule and IN FUN. Once again, the BOEC continues to hire GREAT interns and ours this session fall into that category.  And one last huge thank you to Erik Ortiz, as you will see or saw in the video.. he is a GREAT help to me at camp and the kids ADORE him. Thanks for being there Big E!

Amanda Childs, American Cancer Society

The Life of a Summer Intern

Posted Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by Bruce

by Elizabeth McKee, 2010 BOEC Intern

Watching the sun set on the mountains around the Upper Arkansas River Valley on the way home from a road trip to the Sand Dunes National Park, I almost forget just how crammed I am in the backseat of a Corolla with three other people. (I say “almost” because getting my camera out of my bag to capture the moment requires all of us to move at least four body parts.) Sitting in silence, it’s one of those rare instances I have experienced in my life when I have felt like there is absolutely nowhere I would rather be and nothing else I would rather be doing. I am in the moment, taking it all in, thinking to myself how much I am enjoying my life. The typical stresses and worries that creep to the forefront of my mind in daily life to negate this feeling for even a self-proclaimed optimist are nowhere in sight.

It dawns on me how seemingly random but then again not so random it is that this is where I am in my life. Less than three months ago, I never would have imagined I could have a “job” that doesn’t feel like a “job.” I never imagined I would be “working” for 37 cents an hour and loving every second of it. Six weeks ago, I never would have imagined that I would be able to call the other five people in the car, essentially strangers, my friends. Before coming to the BOEC, I was not able to even imagine the gravity of what I was getting myself into.

It all started last summer when I was working as an occupational therapist at a hospital in my hometown in Wichita, KS. Whether it was that I found myself living at home again as a 26-year-old when I had sworn that would never even be an option or that I was feeling physically and emotionally burnt out from working a job that requires constantly “being on,” I knew I was ready for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my job, but I knew I was not as happy as I could be given my current life situation. Having had some luck just jumping into new life experiences (ie just “trying” OT as a major or moving to Montana sight unseen on a whim), I applied to the BOEC. After all, I have heard someone say life was 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. What was the worst that could happen? I would have to hang out in Colorado for five months and come home broke afterwards?  

Thinking back over my past six weeks as in intern here at the BOEC, I am realizing that’s just the way it had to be. I had to come here. I have an overwhelming premonition that this will be the pivotal time in my life, the point of reference I will make in X number of years as I trace what has lead me to where I am. I feel confident it is the first step on my path to finding my treasure, the intrinsic happiness that accompanies doing something you truly love. I do not know how or when or what that may be yet, but I am undoubtedly convinced the universe has conspired to put me where I need to be to figure that out. Specifically, I have managed to surround myself with people who will help me on my journey, whether they ever realize it or not.

Really thinking about the people I have met and the experiences I have had on courses has been a daunting task; it has turned out to be much more difficult and cathartic that I ever imagined. My experience with both staff and participants at the BOEC has left me with palpable emotions I have been almost unwilling to acknowledge until now,  having suspected their true strength and wanting to be prepared to be able to understand and incorporate them into my life. I knew the magnitude of my experiences here thus far comes with great responsibility, as being lucky enough to have had them requires a “pay it forward” toll in such a keenly karmic universe. I have been forced to look inward, to challenge my perspective and life as I knew it as an admittedly selfish 26-year-old…the life I knew before coming to the BOEC.

I must ask myself daily if I would have the courage I have seen in so many participants. It is more than courage to do the Ropes Course or go rafting, although in many ways these parallel the bravery the individuals who come here must have simply to get through each day in their own personal life. It was the courage I saw in a participant with ALS to let go of the anger he felt over being “surprised” with a terminal illness, to seek advice on how to stay upbeat and positive. It was the courage of spouses of these participants with ALS to provide care and emotional support 24 hours a day when they are really the ones who will have the longest and hardest road ahead on their own. It is the courage the participants exhibit daily to not let their “disability” interfere with life, regardless of physical and emotional obstacles…to carry on even if you need someone to help you get dressed or go to the bathroom…those little things we all take for granted.

I have had to ask myself how much do I appreciate all that I value in my life? How would I react if it was all suddenly taken away from me and I was forced to change my values and priorities? The first time I met Dave during the ALS course, his smile lit up the entire room. Having lost all ability to swallow, he told us the towel in his mouth was “just for looks, girls” as he winked. Typing out messages on his iPhone as his only means of communication, he said he stays upbeat by “just appreciating what I do have that works,” even if it is only his right hand. His motto in life is “No matter how bad things get, seems you always have a choice of ham, bacon or sausage.” Would I be able to say that?  How much do I worry about such comparatively trivial matters on a daily basis?

The ability to “adapt and overcome” as taught by the BOEC is most exemplified in our participants, although the motto in theory may have been designed to guide a fledgling intern trying to figure out how to “make it work” if you screw something up. Meeting a 38-year-old man whose brain injury cost him his marriage, family and use of his right side who says he is “extremely grateful” for his accident because of the knowledge and faith it has brought to him is epitome of the real life application of this concept.

To have participants with such challenges in their own life thanking me of all people for the experience they had while here at the BOEC has been the most overwhelming aspect during courses. If they only knew how thankful I was to be able to spend time with them! Each participant I have met has been such an inspiration, not only by their willingness to trust in us and try something new, but to see glimpses of what daily life back at home is like and their ability to maintain optimism. They have no idea that their acceptance, happiness, gratitude, and strength to overcome adversity offer invaluable insight into what it really means to be live a life worth living that truly incorporates all these qualities.

What they also do not know is that my motives during each course have been entirely selfish, as I can’t stop thinking about what I can take home from each experience. Each person I have met has offered me some tool to use to become the person I want to be when I “grow up.” I am reminded of a line from my favorite book, Paulo Cuehlo’s “The Alchemist”: “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.”

I can say undoubtedly that the people I have met and the experiences I have had in this short time as a BOEC intern are bringing me a step closer to finding my treasure in life. And one day I will be able to make sense of it all, but for now I am content just to know I am a passenger in the backseat on the way to my next big adventure. I am headed in the right direction, and I surprisingly feel fortunate to be so crammed next to “strangers” who I know are essential to my journey. I can look out at the sun on the mountains and be in the moment, as I think to myself how much I enjoy and appreciate my life as a BOEC intern.

Hundreds Gather for 9th Annual Breckebeiner

Posted Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 by Bruce

Bryce Evans–Summit Daily News
BRECKENRIDGE — Gene Dayton described the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center as the “little school that serves the world.”

With more than 2,000 participants — from 17 foreign countries and 40 states — utilizing the many BOEC programs just this year, that certainly can’t be disputed. Neither can the impact that Dayton and the rest of the local Nordic ski community has on helping the BOEC’s cause. More than 200 people gathered at the Breckenridge Nordic Center on Saturday for the ninth annual Breckebeiner 60k Ski-A-Thon and Snowshoe Bash, a fundraiser for the BOEC’s Tuition Assistance Fund.

“It’s a wonderful time for people to get together and enjoy the sport and come together around a cause that truly celebrates life,” said Dayton, founder of the event, operator of the Nordic center and one of the co-founders of the BOEC.

The mission of the foundation is to offer “life-changing outdoor activities for a diverse population of people” with mental and physical disabilities, serious illnesses, injured veterans, youth at risk and other special needs. And Saturday, people spun laps around the Nordic center’s trail system to help raise funds. participants took up sponsorship or pledged money on a per-kilometer basis. The final total is expected to be more than $20,000.

“Year number nine, and we’re hoping that we’ll double what’s been done in any previous years,” Dayton said.

They’re off to a good start. Dayton said this year’s event has an “open track” format, meaning people can do their skiing anytime during the week, up until April 1. Although, many opted to take part in Saturday’s festivities. With polka-style music — led by local accordion icon Helmut Fricker — as the backdrop, participants lapped around the center’s clubhouse, where dozens were gathered. Grills sizzled and the bonfires were blaring, and at the completion of each lap, participants were greeted to loud applause and some cow bells. People were dressed in costumes, some even unrecognizable, but the care for the cause was apparent.

“Many of our clients, because they’re disabled, don’t have very much money, so they wouldn’t be able to go on these experiences without the opportunities we provide,” BOEC executive director Bruce Fitch said.

The vast majority of people won’t make the 60k. Dayton said he expects 20 or so to do it. Many, though, are helping to raise substantial funds. Dayton said Mike Atkinson, pastor of Agape Outpost, has put up “thousands of dollars” this week for the BOEC.

“He pumped it up from the pulpit,” Dayton said with a laugh.

The event started nine years ago as Dayton’s 60th birthday party, when he asked friends and people in the community to ski with him to raise money for the BOEC. Dayton said it still gives him pride to see what the people of Breckenridge are willing to do for a noble cause.

“It’s a little town with a big heart, and it’s a town that serves the world,” Dayton said.

Sam Adams helps the BOEC!

Posted Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by Bruce

For the months of February and March, Rutkey Distributing and Samuel Adams will donate a portion of sales proceeds to the BOEC from any Sam Adams purchased  at the following locations:

Liquor Stores

  • City Liquors- Breckenridge
  • Locals Liquors- Silverthorne
  • Skee Vue Liquors- Breckenridge
  • Breckenridge Summit Liquors- Breckenridge
  • Frisco Liquors- Frisco
  • Antlers Liquors- Frisco
  • Leadville Liquors- Leadville
  • Dillon Ridge Liquors- Dillon

Bars

  • The Dredge
  • Copper Top Bar and Grill
  • The Quandary
  • Kenosha Steak House
  • Tuscato Italian Grill- Frisco

Many thanks to Rutkey Distributing, Samuel Adams and all these participating businesses!

Make a Wish Foundation at the BOEC

Posted Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 by tfc-control

Check out this story of a young girl, Sarah Holm from Wisconsin, coming to the BOEC Adaptive Ski Program through the Make a Wish Foundation:

http://wish.org/stories/sports_entertainment/sports/sarah_adaptive_ski_lessons

The North Face Awards Grant to BOEC

Posted Monday, November 1st, 2010 by tfc-control

The North Face has awarded a $2500 grant to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center to help children and families explore the outdoors. The BOEC was selected from hundreds of applications because of our work in the outdoors with children with disabilities and special needs. The grant is part of the inaugural commitment of $250,000 from The North Face Explore Fund, enabling more than 100 programs that will affect an estimated 85,000 young people.

“We are pleased to be a part of this national program and to provide greater opportunities for children with special needs to be inspired by the outdoors,” said Bruce Fitch, Executive Director of the BOEC.

The BOEC was established in 1976 to expand the potential of people with disabilities and special needs through outdoor adventure and education. Since it’s founding, the BOEC has provided opportunities for individuals and families to experience and appreciate the outdoors and adventure activities. Many of these activities require adaptive equipment and instruction to enable these participants to fully enjoy and safely enjoy activities that otherwise would be closed to them. In addition, BOEC has been able to advance their mission exponentially with the support of several important partner organizations such as The Children’s Hospital of Denver, the Mountain Mentors program in Summit County and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. These organizations have allowed the BOEC to integrate their outdoor programs with ongoing therapy and outreach.

“Our goal is to enable more people to get outside and explore their world in ways that are meaningful to them,” said Steve Rendle, President of The North Face. “We’re very proud to launch the Explore Fund and support BOEC and the other impressive organizations that are making outdoor exploration possible, and a priority, in communities across the country.”

BOEC will launch this winter a number of skiing camps and next summer a number of camping and rafting camps that will focus on children with special needs and their families to immerse in life-changing outdoor experiences. To learn more about all of the Explore Fund grantees and to keep up on their progress visit www.planetexplore.com. 

Passing of a Great Friend of the BOEC–Richard Griffith

Posted Friday, April 2nd, 2010 by tfc-control

We are sad to report the passing of Richard Griffith, a great friend and supporter of the BOEC.  Richard, 68, died on March 25, 2010 at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Florida after a brief illness.

Richard’s philanthropy is evident in every place he lived with his highest accomplishment being with the BOEC.  It was Richard’s generosity that created The Griffith Lodge. The lodge has been the central base and campus for the BOEC’s programs, serving hundreds of special needs children and adults over the years.  The Griffith Lodge has been the cornerstone of the BOEC’s success in recent years, allowing us to expand programs and provide high quality housing in addition to the adaptive adventure activities we are known for.  The lodge was renamed in 2005 as The Scott Griffith Lodge in memory of his son who was a student of the BOEC.

Richard was retired as Vice President of the Florida Division of Sysco Foods. He and his family traveled all over the world during his working years and after retirement. He was a former resident of Fayetteville, NC; Banner Elk, NC and Breckenridge, CO.  Richard is survived by his wife, Ann West Griffith of Windermere; son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Karen Griffith of Ocoee; daughter and son-in-law, Robin and Kevin Laird of Brookhaven, MS; and his step-mother, Donna L. Griffith of Boca Raton, FL.  He is also survived by his beloved Chihuahua, Nacho.

Prior to his illness, Richard and Ann had planned a visit to the BOEC this summer and see again the continuing impacts of their gift.  Richard Griffith will be sorely missed by all of us at the BOEC, and greatly honored for how he transformed our school.

BOEC and US Paralympics create Paralympic Sport Breckenridge

Posted Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by tfc-control

U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) have partnered to create Paralympic Sport – Breckenridge.

Paralympic Sport – Breckenridge is a community-based sports club developed to involve youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities in sports and physical activity, regardless of skill level.  All programs and activities will be based in Breckenridge and run by the BOEC.

“U.S. Paralympics is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals with physical and visual disabilities to be physically active in their own communities.  Participation in physical activity enhances not only self-esteem and peer relationships, but also results in greater achievement, better overall health and higher quality of life.”  Mike Mushett, U.S. Paralympics Director of Community Programs.

With 21 million physically disabled Americans, including thousands of military personnel who’ve been severely injured while on active duty, this is an important community need.

The BOEC was established in Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1976 as a non-profit tax-exempt educational organization to provide outdoor experiences for people with disabilities and to train the instructors who work with special populations. Ultimately, the BOEC strives to integrate disability with ability, providing outdoor experiences to all.  We welcome people of all abilities from around the world to spectacular natural classrooms in the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

“The BOEC is proud to expand our services to people with disabilities and special needs by providing this opportunity to learn more about and participate in the Paralympic movement.  This is yet another way for our participants to expand their potential and push beyond perceived limitations.  Our initial focus will be on alpine and nordic skiing but will expand into other adventure sports in the future.”  Bruce Fitch, Executive Director of the BOEC

U.S. Paralympics is committed to working with community organizations across the United States to create 250 Paralympic Sport Clubs by 2012.

For more information about the BOEC and Paralympic Sport – Breckenridge, please contact Marci Sloan at (970) 453-6422 or marci@boec.org.

For more information about U.S. Paralympics, please contact Susan Katz, (719) 866-2068 or susan.katz@usoc.org.

About U.S. Paralympics:  U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promoting excellence in the lives of persons with physical disabilities. Visit the U.S. Paralympics website at www.usparalympics.orgAbout BOEC:  For more than 30-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.

Monoski camp: A time to be free

Posted Sunday, November 1st, 2009 by tfc-control

BY SANDY LAHMANN
special to the Summit Daily
Summit County, Colorado

There’s a pilgrimage every February to Breckenridge. Every February, Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center sponsors Monoski Camp. Those of us who can no longer ski standing on two legs, but instead do so sitting over one ski, gather together in Breckenridge for a ski vacation.

Many of us return time and time again, year after year, eager to gather together once more to hit the slopes. We renew our friendships every February on the mountain and in Griffith Lodge. Some of us are new and are quickly welcomed into the fold. At last they have found us.

The week of monoski camp is the best week of my year. It is renewing, refreshing, reinvigorating, and recharging. No matter how rough the previous year has been, monoski camp makes me whole again.

How can the four days of monoski camp, with a bunch of folks who use wheelchairs and crutches, be so important to me?

Because disability disappears. It becomes a non-issue.

We are there to ski and to laugh, to fly down the mountain and to enjoy each others company.

The wheelchairs and the crutches that follow us wherever we go fade into the background. They don’t matter anymore.

We are not limited by our equipment; we are empowered by it.

We become normal. We become average. Within our circle, we are just ourselves. No one is staring at our chairs and crutches making sympathetic expressions of pity. No one is expecting us to be superheroes, overcoming all of our many obstacles for the betterment of mankind.

We are no longer stereotypes, examples, cases, objects for study, “special,” an inspiration, or opportunities for advocacy.

We are just us. We are the mom of a 3-year-old, the soccer dad, the businessman, the brand-new teacher, the guy with the funny accent from Scotland, the pool player, the Southerner, the great omelette maker, the joke teller, the photographer, the writer, the traveler, the last guy up in the morning, and the first guy to bed at night.

We are skiers. We gather on the mountain to fly as fast as we can down the steepest slope, to perfect our carved turns, to improve our skills to the next level, to learn, and to master the Ballet Hill. We push ourselves a little bit harder, a little bit farther, always seeking to get a little bit better and a little bit faster. We accept the challenge and take a risk. For what is life without a few risks?

We are storytellers. We laugh at ourselves as we tell each other about the time we missed the lip, the edge, the crack, and went flying out of our wheelchairs much to the horror of the unsuspecting able-bodied folks. We tell stories about the times we’ve gone down escalators in our chairs with confused security guards providing chase. We extol the many fine virtues of duct tape when used to adapt our monoskis and fix our glasses after a face plant.

We kid each other, harass each other, and cheer for each other.

Late at night our voices and our laughter echo through Griffith Lodge, but the morning brings a great rush to eat breakfast and get to the slope for fresh tracks.

Thank you, my friends, for sharing the mountain and good times. See you next year.

And thank you to Jeff and Gene, Quintin, Sarah, Matt, all the instructors, all the interns, and all the volunteers. You give us far more than you will ever realize.

Sandy Lahmann, a previous Frisco resident now temporarily lost on the Front Range, can be e-mailed at sandy@wheelsonthesummit.com.

Adaptive Ski Lessons at Copper Mountain

Posted Sunday, October 11th, 2009 by Bruce

Copper logoThe Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center provides alpine skiing and snowboarding lessons to people with disabilities and other special needs at Copper Mountain Resort.   Lessons are conducted on a personalized, one-on-one basis, and include all instruction, on-hill guiding and support, specialized equipment and lift ticket.  All disciplines of adaptive skiing are provided, including four-track, visually impaired, three-track, mono-skiing and bi-skiing.

2017-18 Rates Adaptive Ski & Ride Photo

Full Day:   $250
($225 for reservation 14+ days in advance)
Time: 9am – 3:30pm (1 hour off for lunch)
Half Day:   $185
($165 with 14-day advanced reservation)
Time: 9:30am – 12pm OR 1pm – 3:30pm

Prices above are per person. Customized lessons for groups are available upon request.  Payment in full is required to confirm reservations.

To Make a Reservation

Please call (970) 453-5633 or 1-800-383-BOEC to make a reservation. It is recommended that reservations be made as soon as possible, as we have limited capacity and our lesson days tend to fill quickly.

Please also feel free to contact us via email at skiprog@boec.org.

Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC)
Since 1976, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center has been providing empowering outdoor experiences to people of all abilities. The Center offers adaptive ski programs and adaptive outdoor education camps at a campus in Breckenridge and wilderness programs throughout Summit County and the region.  Activities are available year round and include skiing, snowboarding, ropes course, challenge activities, rock climbing, river rafting, canoeing and many others, all adapted to be accessible to all abilities.


Older Entries » « Newer Entries

Our Partners

Town of Breckenridge LogoBreckenridge Resort LogoKeystone Logo