BOEC floats name change
December 14, 2005
BRECKENRIDGE – What’s in a name? In the case of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC), it’s nearly three decades of goodwill and an enduring relationship between the town and the nonprofit organization, whose mission is to expand the potential of people with disabilities and special needs through outdoor experiences.Given the close association between the town and the nonprofit, it’s probably not surprising that Breckenridge Town Council members were not thrilled with the idea that the BOEC is considering a change that would remove the town’s prominent placement in the name, replaced by the more geographically flexible “Open Outdoors.”But Brownell Bailey, chairman of the BOEC’s board of directors, said the organization will continue to seek ways to expand its mission, and a name change might still be part of that effort.
The discussion surfaced during a town council work session Tuesday, when Bailey and board member Roger McCarthy broached the subject and asked the town council for feedback. Both suggested that the existing name could be a hindrance to fundraising as the BOEC expands operations to Keystone and potentially at other venues.”What we have to do is stand back and think about how to grow what the BOEC does,” McCarthy said, asking the council to approach the question with an open mind. “Here’s an organization that can do more of what it does so well. Is the name a barrier to that growth?”The name “BOEC at Keystone” could be “decidedly awkward” for the organization in the context of fundraising, Bailey said.Questioning the change, Mayor Ernie Blake said the BOEC has earned national recognition, and that the current name is something that benefits both the town and the organization.
“It’s been a really great, special relationship,” said Councilmember Larry Crispell. “The BOEC has been a favored child. It gets a lot of support from the town with no questions asked.” Changing the name could be risky and requires weighing an unknown effect at Keystone against the known benefits of the existing brand name, Crispell said. “I don’t view the name change as favorable for the town,” he concluded.Several other council members agreed with Blake and Crispell, but said they don’t want to be in a position of telling the BOEC how to run its operation. Council members emphasized that they didn’t think a name change would affect the level of support the organization gets from the town.
Bailey said the name change came up in the context of a potential merger with Outward Bound, a move that was strongly supported by several BOEC board members. An association with a larger organization would give the BOEC greater outreach and a chance to expand its programs into new areas, he added. For now, the BOEC is focusing on setting up operations at Keystone by moving into new office space near the Mountain House base area. The plan is to serve about 100 people at the new location this season.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.