BOEC provides military participants the opportunity to overcome challenges, through outdoor recreation both individually and as part of a group, learn new skills, and appreciate the natural world to enhance the health and self-confidence necessary to realize their full potential. BOEC’s Heroic Military Family Program includes partnerships with military agencies as well as open enrollment retreats with individual veterans and their families. Accessible outdoor adventure opportunities include skiing and snowboarding instruction camps with the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program, mountain retreats, and river trips and day programs with the Wilderness Program. Specific outcomes for the veterans and their families embrace utilizing adaptive recreation to help redefine a sense of self, reinvigorating a will for adventure and solidifying a sense of peace for nature and the everyday environment. They have the opportunity to find purpose and empathy for themselves and a sense of community with fellow military members who have been through similar situations, work through mood changes, and establish a ‘new normal’ through structured activities to support emotional connection. This ultimately creates a shared sense of meaning and memories that can help build family cohesion.
For the 2022-23 fiscal year, we were grateful to return to 100% programming capacity, delivering winter and summer season outdoor adventure activities for veterans, active service members, and their families. The Adaptive Ski & Snowboard Program served 81 military participants across the Keystone Adaptive Military Camp, Semper Fi – Ski and Snowboard Clinic, veterans from The Not Forgotten Association based in London, and individual lessons. Our friends from The Not Forgotten come for two weeks at a time and often leave feeling renewed as this participant put it,
“I really cannot explain in words how important this trip has been for me and the newfound friends and colleagues along the way. This has included having the opportunity to discuss and share our journeys as veterans going forward with like-minded colleagues and friends to adventuring with one another in the spectacular winter wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.”
Another participant from The Not Forgotten shared,
“The trip has given me the confidence in feeling that I am still a valued member of society and given me a hook and motivation to achieve future goals that can only enhance my life and the lives of those that I am responsible for.”