The Summit Foundation recently released its new strategic plan and it comes as no surprise that all of its priorities revolve around being the leader in developing a collaborative and philanthropic state of mind in the Summit County community.
Supporting several initiatives over the years, most recently, the “Soul of the Summit ” as it is affectionately referred to, has been an important partner in re-establishing the Snow Sports Alliance (SSA) program, providing valuable scholarship monies to Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) programming for local residents, and helped with funding to reinvigorate our fleet of vehicles.
The SSA is a highly recognized and essential program in our community because it helps our socio-economically disadvantaged youth learn to ski and snowboard while instilling a feeling of inclusion in our mountain recreation culture. This well-established Summit County youth initiative connects 10 Mountain Mentor students with ski/snowboard lessons through BOEC’s Adaptive Ski & Snowboard Program. These students receive 10 weekly small group ski/snowboard lessons from BOEC instructors, transportation to and from their home to Breckenridge Ski Resort, season-long rentals through Blue River Sports/Mountain Wave, and a season pass through EpicPromise. The Snow Sports Alliance was in operation from 1997 to 2017, but due to a lack of funding, the 20-year-long program was canceled in 2018. But thanks to The Summit Foundation’s support in 2019, this program was reinvigorated.
Importantly, this mentoring relationship – on skis or snowboarding with a mature adult – helps youngsters overcome certain obstacles and learn new skills that will ultimately prove valuable in their maturation process. Research has proven that youth in a consistent mentoring relationship have higher self-esteem, perform better in school, and are less likely to begin using drugs or alcohol in the future.
One of the parents of our SSA participants shared this testimony from the past snow season, “The experience in SSA was very positive for our son. He looked forward to being picked up every day as they taught him a new sport, gave him more confidence in himself, and got him out of his comfort zone to do new things, in addition to seeing and appreciating his surroundings in Colorado that by our own means would not have been possible. Thank you so much!”
The continuation of the SSA program is essential to Summit County’s mountain culture and even more importantly, aligns with The Summit Foundation’s mission to mobilize resources and enrich the lives of individuals here. Through the organizations’ assistance of SSA, together, we are actively empowering Summit County’s future generations.
In addition to SSA, The Foundation’s scholarship support gives locals, who otherwise would not be able to, a chance to participate in outdoor recreation. For the past three years, thanks to The Summit Foundation, BOEC has been able to grant funds to every local participant who requested aid and demonstrated financial need. More importantly, we have seen local participation in BOEC programming double in the past few years. Although BOEC participants come from all 50 states and 10 different countries, The Summit Foundation helps us focus on our very own community. Last year, over 40 locals took advantage of scholarships granted from The Summit Foundation. Throughout the pandemic, the scholarship support has been especially significant as it has helped keep local youth programming running year-round. With the assistance of The Foundation, Building Hope, and several other community entities, BOEC supports the community’s need for serving youth and teens facing social isolation, hardship, or loss of after-school activity due to COVID-19 challenges. Together, our success in delivering The Teen Connection Program, in conjunction with several other community partners, has shown such promising results that these have now become year-round programs.
And speaking of year-round programming, BOEC would not be able to operate without a safe fleet of vehicles to transport our participants. Program transportation is an ongoing critical need as we maintain a fleet of 13 vehicles ranging in age from one to 20 years old. BOEC’s priority to ensure the safety of our participants is in alignment with industry standards and our own vehicle safety standards. We track the use of our vehicles through mileage, the number of programs each van is used for, and the number of participants transported. This data is then used for scheduling routine maintenance and tracking replacement needs. Through generous contributions from The Summit Foundation, we’ve been able to update several 4-wheel drive vans in the past 3 years. “Summie the Van” is featured below. During the busiest parts of our summer, all of our vehicles are out on programs. A well maintained fleet allows BOEC’s participants to enjoy a safe and comfortable experience in the outdoors, and we have The Summit Foundation to thank for that.
BOEC has been true to its mission of serving those with special needs and disabilities since our founding in 1976, despite economic recessions and global pandemics. All BOEC programs have the goal of improving quality of life through outdoor experiences. Anecdotal and empirical evidence tells us BOEC has a positive impact on our participants long after their participation. Without The Summit Foundation’s funding assistance for our scholarship and operations, many local citizens would not have the opportunity to experience the recreational activities that are so important to mental and physical wellness, and to the overall culture and quality of life in Summit County.
Furthermore, the funds The Summit Foundation contributes to BOEC helps to sustain our staff, equipment, culture, and programming that keeps us recognized as the model adaptive program in the industry. Thank you to The Summit Foundation for over 25 years of support!
Did you know that BOEC is able to keep its lesson fees low so we can remain as inclusive as possible? We rely on generous donors to make up the difference. To make a tax-deductible gift, please visit BOEC.org/give today.
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