Tim Casey has seen Summit County grow from 4,000 people to over 35,000 people in his 46 years as a local resident. When he and his late wife Patti moved to the area in the mid-1970s there were no stoplights and only a few paved roads to speak of. The times were certainly different back then but one thing has stayed the same, Tim’s dedication to the non-profit community and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC), where he served on the board for 15 years from 2006 to 2021 while remaining an active volunteer with the organization. Over these past four-plus decades, Tim has become a staple of the commercial, social and philanthropic fabric of the community.
Both originally from southern California, Patti and Tim, high school sweethearts, felt the gravitational pull of the Rocky Mountains after they graduated from Cal State, Fullerton. The couple began their local journey managing a condominium in Keystone while immersing themselves in various social and philanthropic endeavors throughout the community. Tim got to work immediately starting his own local real estate company, Mountain Marketing Associates, and volunteering with various non-profits including the Summit County Rescue Group, Summit Huts Association, as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and not too long after … the BOEC.
Tim’s involvement with BOEC began in 1975 when he met co-founders Gene Dayton and Aris Sophocles who were early on in the process of founding the nonprofit organization. Tim kept up with the duo over the years, aided in Gene’s purchase of the property where the Breckenridge Nordic Center now resides, and ultimately began volunteering for the Adaptive Ski & Snowboard Program in the mid-1990s. That’s when Tim’s BOEC journey truly began.
“I was hooked from the very first volunteer experience I had,” remembers Casey. “It’s the greatest day that you could possibly experience. You get to do things and you get to see the joy and the opportunity for people and children of all abilities to do things they never thought they would get to do. How does it get any better than that? Just the smiles, the joy, and the appreciation. I mean, it’s the mission of the BOEC in a nutshell.”
Hook, line and sinker, Tim immediately became a part of the BOEC family, ultimately leading to what would become a 15-year-long run as a member of BOEC’s Board of Directors, including seven years as Chairman. And that’s where his 20-plus years of community relationships and friendships really paid off for the BOEC.
“Having lived here for a while at that point, I had the relationships with various individuals in the community that were making political decisions to shape the community way back when. And so getting involved in the BOEC and having those acquaintances allowed me to feel like I could add value as a board member. I loved volunteering, but at the 30,000-foot level, I felt that if I could help the organizational structure as well as volunteer, that would be even bigger.”
During Tim’s time as a board member he spearheaded many initiatives, including the $2 million capital campaign and renovation of BOEC’s four-decade old Administration Headquarters and Logistics Center in 2018. He also secured the long-term lease of the 38-acre F&D Placer property which is home to BOEC’s Wilderness Program. But in true philanthropist fashion, he attributes much of this success to the entire board while relegating himself to just one simple cog in the wheel.
“Just being able to be involved as a board member with many, many other incredibly talented individuals that have brought so much more to the board than me has been fun because we get stuff done,” Tim says with a smile. “If there’s a need, we’d fill that gap and the community always steps up and never says no. It’s an amazing story, but it’s an amazing organization. It’s incredible. The BOEC is part of the fabric of our community and what a privilege to be part of that.”
Tim doesn’t necessarily consider himself a philanthropist, citing that he is more of a “contributor” that just loves participating and being involved when he can. But we beg to differ, not only because of the generous amount of his time, energy, innovation, and contributions given to the BOEC, but his support offered to many other community organizations as well. While he is continually quick to point out that it “takes a village” to accomplish the things that need to get done, after his wife Patti took her own life in 2016, Tim immediately recognized the need for more access to mental health care and reducing the stigma surrounding it. This ultimately led to the formation of another nonprofit in 2017 with Building Hope Summit County. However, once again, Tim is quick to state that it wasn’t all his doing.
“I didn’t do it … once again it takes a village of a lot of people,” Tim states adamantly. “Yes, the genesis of Building Hope was the tragic loss of Patti, my wife of over 40 years, to suicide, but we had talked about it for many years in the community. It took a village of people that realized something needed to be done. My family was involved. The Summit Foundation was involved. The Family Intercultural & Resource Center (FIRC) was involved. The Sheriff’s Department, Summit County Government, the Town of Breckenridge, Gini Bradley, Betsy Casey and Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) were involved. You name it, they were involved. Many individuals and community nonprofits were instrumental in creating Building Hope. It was truly a community mental health initiative created out of necessity. You can’t attribute it to any one person, but a collective will that came together to make positive change.”
As you can see, Tim has made positive changes wherever he’s been. While now semi-retired from his real estate business that helps to create shared ranch communities, conservation ranch communities and properties where families can actually stay on the property and continue ranching, he doesn’t plan on going anywhere when it comes to the BOEC. Based upon some of the relationships and some of the opportunities and agreements that he has put into place with the Town of Breckenridge and other entities, Tim plans to be a part of these discussions moving forward. Who knows, he may even serve on a board committee or two. He just stresses that it was his time to move on from the board after 15 years.
“I was there for way too long and I believe that board members should be turned over so there’s new blood in there,” he says. “It’s time for the new generation to have their turn.”
Tim’s time on the BOEC board of directors was an experience that he looks back upon as something he wouldn’t have done any differently.
“Being on the board was an easy thing, especially in an organization such as the BOEC where everyone is enthusiastic, pulling their weight, and being creative, hardworking and dedicated,” says Casey. “It was fun being a part of a winning team. It’s like winning the World Series every single year and it was great to be part of a program where you can get stuff done and there’s extraordinary leadership and collaboration.”
In so far as what Tim views as the future of the BOEC, he sees an organization that is in better shape now than it’s ever been during his tenure. And he attributes this to an amazing and supportive community and a board and staff which breeds all the factors needed for it to grow and thrive in the coming years.
“The BOEC can be whatever it needs or wants to be moving forward because of all of that,” he says. “This organization is about how people can come together and really make a difference. Come together towards a worthy goal that is worth sustaining and growing while providing opportunities for people that could never believe they could actually do the things they get to do. If you do that for just a few, you’ve hit it out of the park. The BOEC does that for thousands of people every year. Now that’s special.”
Special indeed, Tim, and you are one of the ones that makes the BOEC so unique. We’re all too happy that you’ll be sticking around in some capacity moving forward.
“I’ll be around,” he says. “I’m not going anywhere.”
That’s what we like to hear!
I had the privilege of working on the Board with Tim for many years. More than anyone except Aris, he made the organization what it is today. Job well done!
Very true, Brian. Thanks for your message!