I had the pleasure of interning for Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) during the summer of 2013. It remains to be one of the most influential and inspiring periods of my life and has been a constant motivating factor for working with populations of all abilities. Established in 1976, BOEC was created to help people with different ability levels develop their potential through outdoor adventure experiences. From adaptive skiing and snowboarding, whitewater rafting in Colorado’s beautiful rivers and rapids, mastering the on-site ropes course, and rock climbing, BOEC inspires its participants and staff to learn new skills and rekindle their spirits in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Photo Above: Elizabeth Moscoso Anderson zip-lining with a participant with autism. Used with permission.

BOEC serves individuals of all backgrounds and abilities, including those with disabilities and special needs. Their clientele includes, but is not limited to:

  • Individuals with physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities
  • Individuals from low-income backgrounds or disadvantaged environments
  • Individuals learning English as their second language
  • Youth seeking leadership development

BOEC endorses the view of: “Attitudes are the real disabilities”, and welcomes all who are interested in participating in outdoor adventure. Activities include rock climbing, wilderness camping, whitewater rafting, canoeing, adaptive cycling, 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 participants.

BOEC is not the only agency of its kind, but it is a very special one. Adventures are meant for all individuals, and BOEC truly makes it a possibility for many. Therapeutic recreation activities, big or small, are meant to restore, remediate, or rehabilitate to improve functioning and independence. As a therapeutic recreation intern, I facilitated or co-facilitated many debriefing sessions following our more strenuous and risk situations, such as mastering the ropes course or finishing a leadership and team-building activity. In all sessions, participants shared stories of their increased self-confidence and self-esteem and related how their experience would affect their everyday lives. It was incredible to be a part of that experience for every single person I worked with, and I am so thankful.

Photo Above: Individuals with disabilities looking at the mountains. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Moscoso Anderson. Used with permission.

I strongly encourage families and individuals to participate in an opportunity like BOEC’s programming, whether to engage as a participant, work as an intern, or volunteer! Don’t believe me? Check out this video by a recent intern!