Specializing in Youth Adventures since 1981





Turning 40 is milestone, a landmark, a mixed bag of emotions. For some it is a reason to celebrate, publicly and brightly. For others it is a moment in time to be accidentally overlooked or avoided…denial first, details second! As someone that recently navigated through this experience personally, I found myself in a tug of war between these two attitudes towards aging. It was the surprise party waiting for me after I fiercely aligned myself with the denial camp, that brought me into the “middle ground” of accepting the completion of four decades on planet earth. It was within this spirit of celebration that got me thinking about Telluride Academy’s own approaching milestone. 

Summer 2020 will be our 40th summer of programming here in this magical valley of the southern San Juan Mountains. 40 summers of exploration and discovery. 40 summers of “Dirt Don’t Hurt” and Free-Play. 40 summers of empowering our students to immerse themselves in the natural world and the wild within themselves. Looking back over four decades of outdoor and artistic programming, one would be challenged to ascertain major differences between the experiences of our students from 1981 and now. Our classroom looks as it always has: open space, backed by soaring peaks, beckoning forests, raging rivers and inviting meadows. Our ethos of preservation, personal growth and collaboration still guide the everyday actions and conversations between our staff and students. Our Academy family was, is and always will be made up of passionate, emphatic and adventurous souls. T-shirts will continue to be handed out on Mondays, llamas will stay adorable and overnights will always be intimidating for our 6 year old students!

In 40 years, however, it is safe to say that our challenges have changed. While getting our students to embrace the space for change and growth through challenge has (and always will be) our most prized objective and opportunity, we seem to face more modern obstacles to our programming experiences. Technology, climate change, political divisiveness and the diminishing opportunities for authentic interactions in our daily routines have all made appearances in the form of roadblocks to our goals in recent years. However, throughout four decades of operations, there is indeed so much to celebrate! Telluride Academy is excited to embark on a new adventure as an organization and address these obstacles head-on! In celebration of turning 40, we look forward to connecting and building a solid alumni program, doubling down on getting kids “Unplugged” and enhancing our teen programming and outreach! 2020 will be a time for connecting with our extensive community of families young and old, current and past instructors, board members and donors and collectively reflecting on our storied past while preparing for another amazing 40 years of...

Growing UP, Getting OUT and Getting ON!

Yours in Adventure, 


Luke Brown 
Executive Director