We have been sharing stories about the people who make BOEC special this past year and quite often the story is about one of our team members who started out as a BOEC intern and then stayed with us to continue not only their professional development but also to continue to give back to BOEC and those we serve. Just last month we shared the story of Jillian Palacio who went from BOEC intern eight years ago to now becoming BOEC’s first ever full time Training Coordinator. There are many stories like Jillian’s, including this month’s feature on former intern turned Wilderness Program Coordinator, Steven Rubin.

Steven Rubin goes over high ropes course belay system

Steven Rubin goes over high ropes course belay system with a participant

It all started in the summer of 2017 when the Houston, TX native happened upon BOEC’s Internship Program as he was looking for field work opportunities in therapeutic recreation to complete his Master’s Degree from Texas State University. After completing the Summer Internship Program which focuses on BOEC’s Wilderness Program, Steven applied for and was accepted into the winter internship with the Adaptive Ski & Snowboard Program at the Keystone Adaptive Center. His talents did not go unnoticed as a few seasons later he hopped on board as the full-time Wilderness Program Coordinator, a position he is still in today.

Steve just hanging out at work

Steve just “hanging out” at work

“I was looking into opportunities for field work to complete my Master’s Degree,” he remembers. “I knew I needed to do an ‘NCTRC-approved’ internship and I wanted to incorporate the outdoors. In other words, I wanted it to involve as little fluorescent lighting/clinical work as possible. I already had a background in outdoor recreation, so the BOEC was the perfect fit.”

And he has been the perfect fit for the BOEC as a sort of jack of all trades over the years, providing expertise and helping out whenever and wherever needed. You need someone to run a climbing excursion, Steven is your man. Do you need someone to put their handyman skills to the test and help build tent platforms? Steven is your man. An understanding of the complexities of a program database that needs tweaking?  Again, Steven has stepped in and contributed in a positive way on many different and diverse levels. A role that he has relished in over the years.

“I hope it helps to fill in where needed,” he says. “It helps me too. At times it can feel like a juggling act, but in the end it keeps things from getting too monotonous, so I’m all for it.”

Steve readies a participant for a ropes course challenge

Steve readies a participant for a ropes course challenge

While there is no self-described typical day of work for Steven at the BOEC, he sees his continuing experiences more as a personal journey than anything designed to advance his career in any sort. He admits that he’s been able to discover what it takes to run a nonprofit organization.

“Admittedly, though I’d say that my time at the BOEC has done more for my soul than anything external like a career,” he reminisces. “In fact, it has made me realize that there are more important things in the world than a career.”

Whether or not Steven considers what he’s doing a “career” or not, he has carved out a special place for himself at the BOEC, a place that he sees equally as special.

“The people are what makes this place so unique,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, accessible ropes courses and adaptive sit skis are really cool. I can geek out on that stuff all day long. At the end of the day, though, what truly matters are the people – staff, participants and their families, volunteers, etc.”

And Steven is one of those people that truly matters. He refers to the BOEC as magical, rejuvenating and cutting-edge, and when asked what his favorite thing about his job is he doesn’t point to any specific project or activity, he simply says “the people I get to work with and share experiences with.”

He hits the nail right on the head as the BOEC truly is all about the people and their experiences that they might not otherwise get a chance to enjoy. And Steven is simply along for the joyous ride that has been presented to him. He enjoys teaching and training and hopes to continue to keep getting to do this for years to come.

In the meantime, he keeps plugging away at whatever experience comes up next and occupies his time outside of work by working with his hands at a cabinet shop, climbing, kayaking, cooking and last but not least, reading.

The avid reader has just finished reading Consolations by David Whyte and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, but really connects with the writing of former author David Foster Wallace, someone he would have liked to meet in person because “I connect with his writing and wish I could give him a hug,” he says.

Well, all hugs to you Steven for all that you have done for the BOEC for the past five years and for all that you will continue to do in the future. The BOEC is a remarkable place and has been made even more remarkable by your presence. Keep doing what you do!