This past May we returned to a more “typical” Wilderness summer season and welcomed 11 young professionals as part of the BOEC Summer Internship Program! This crew came from as far east as Massachusetts and as far west as California. They brought with them a variety of skill sets and plenty of good vibes.
Our return to “normal” led to us running 77 courses this summer ranging from a half day of kayaking with Mountain Mentors, to a 4-day Heroic Family Military trip on the San Juan River in collaboration with Telluride Adaptive Sports Program, to 6-day Challenge by Choice retreats for those who have a traumatic brain injury. There was no adventure too far out of reach for this group of interns and they worked tirelessly through training and the running of programs alongside BOEC course directors and instructors.
Of this class, 4 were participating in the internship to meet school requirements which means, outside of training and our programming they were putting in extra time to write papers on their experiences and implementing education-based elements into our programs. Education is a valued component of BOEC’s Wilderness Program, and as “student” interns they bring a particularly intentional insight to our activities.
Where do they go next?
Heading into the winter, at least 5 members of this summer’s class will transition to contributing to the BOEC in some capacity for the winter programs. One member of the class, Marin, is transferring into the Winter Internship Program (WOOO, you go girl!). We are also happy to share that one will be heading to be a research assistant at Penn State, another will be joining the BOEC community in the front range by accepting a job in a behavioral health facility, and another returned to grad school in early September to pursue engineering. All in all, it is important to recognize that it takes all types of people to make our mission a reality here at the BOEC.
Graduates of the BOEC Intern Program make up a significant number of both our seasonal and full-time staff as we traditionally encourage graduates to continue to pursue opportunities within the BOEC, hoping to expand our year-round retention with our seasonally employed team. In fact, 100% of the year-round team who oversee the operations of the Wilderness Program started as BOEC Interns. Now THAT is a statistic, we are very proud of!
We wrapped up the summer season with our 9th Annual Cast Iron Cook-Off Competition. This cook off is a way for all of BOEC staff to get together and celebrate a summer of hard work, especially the interns. The delicious event is also a great way to innovate our cooking techniques as all recipes are made in an iron skillet or dutch oven and ranked based on feasibility in-the-field. An intern from the class of 2003, our Wilderness Program Director, Jaime Overmyer, took home the 1st Place Golden Tongs with her Buffalo Chicken quesadilla wraps this year, but three teams of this year’s interns placed in the top 3 of each category which is something to be proud of indeed!
Following the cook off we moved right into the graduation ceremony where we celebrated this intern class for their successes and growth throughout the season.
Thank you to Adriella White, Carlos Jimenez-Vazquez, Cassandra Baca, Claire Sullivan, Daniel Folta, Emily Vican, Emma Stern, Katherine Stadler, Marin Gala, Samantha Ricker and Zachary Yengo for all for your hard work and congratulations on a successful summer!
Daniel Folta, Summer Intern, 2022
As an intern, I came to BOEC with the hope of giving participants experiences that would change their lives for the better. I have found so much life and healing in the outdoors during my upbringing, that I wanted to share this gift with others who may struggle to experience the outdoors on their own. Throughout the summer, I have been blessed with the opportunity to share in life changing experiences of many participants who have pushed themselves to reach goals they never thought attainable. Watching the participant’s determination, commitment, and patience with themselves and others as they seek to push their own limits and conquer their fears inspires me beyond words. During one of the Evergreen Day programs, I assisted a participant named Jenny as she rock climbed her first outdoor route. Despite the paralysis on the left side of her body, Jenny was determined to reach the top of the route. I parallel climbed with Jenny to help place her left foot and hand as she moved up the wall. After an hour of hanging onto small ledges and problem-solving different route options, Jenny reached the top of her climb and let out the most heartwarming scream of excitement. I can learn so much from individuals like Jenny who, through their dedication and willingness, test their physical limits and shatter preconceived expectations of their own ability. Throughout the summer, I have learned so much from the participants and have walked away from each program more inspired than before.