Most of us recognize that staying active and eating healthy are important to staying fit and living a long, active life. However, you might not think much about brain health until you reach an age where it becomes more of a concern. It’s never too early to start taking care of this most vital organ. Whatever your age, there are habits you can cultivate to support and maintain brain function and according to research, even ways to reverse aging by encouraging stem cell production.

Many of the changes that can help brain health are relatively simple, to the point that you might not associate them with better cognitive function. Starting with the basics is always necessary to provide a strong foundation for health.

Just 30 minutes of daily exercise can help reduce brain cell loss! Research has shown that physical activity can slow brain aging by 10 years. Further, it has been shown that dancing is advantageous for both maintaining and reversing signs of aging in the brain because it engages multiple areas for hand-eye coordination, execution and control of voluntary movement and the planning of fine and complex motor actions. Just dance!!

Maintain Your Social Life
People that have good social ties live longer and research suggests that people who are more socially engaged and have larger social networks tend to have a high level of cognitive function. Stay social!!

Use All Your Senses
Keep your eyes and ears sharp. Not only is it important for your senses to function properly in order for the brain to process your surroundings, but this can also have a major impact on social interaction. Those with hearing impairments may be less likely to engage with family and friends, which plays a big role in both brain and mental health. Eyes and ears open!!

Keep Learning
Like a muscle, your brain needs to be exercised to stay healthy. Taking on new hobbies and learning new things is a great way to keep the brain working well. Engage in puzzles, trivia, games, reading, drawing, painting and other crafts, anything that stimulates mental activity. Exercise your brain!!

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol is helpful, but it’s important to avoid toxins that may be lurking in places you might not consider. Processed foods are full of chemicals and inflammatory oils that wreak havoc on cells throughout the body. Most conventional body products, including shampoo, lotions and deodorant contain harmful phthalates and other substances that are absorbed by the skin within seconds.  Healthy choices!!

Keep Your Levels in Check
High cholesterol and diabetes have both been linked with dementia. This is really important because there are risk factors associated with cognitive decline, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and blood sugars.  Check your levels!!

Manage Stress
Stress can kill brain cells and even reduce the size of the brain. Chronic stress has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Studies have shown that meditation, yoga and spending time in nature are effective ways to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm.  Less stress!!

Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in the brain that build up while you are awake, so don’t be shy about sleeping more than eight hours.  More sleep!!

Focus on Gut Health
Research has shown that there is a vital connection between the gut and the brain. Several neurotransmitters are made in the gut, including up to 90% of serotonin. This is crucial for communication within the nervous system, but also for a healthy mood. Address digestive issues and be sure to include pre- and pro-biotics daily. Gut matters!!

Eat Right
No matter how many diet trends come and go, research supports that both the Japanese and Mediterranean-style diets are some of the best anti-inflammatory ways of eating. Healthy fats high in Omega-3, key to brain health and mood, high fiber and antioxidant-rich vegetables, grains and herbs. Focus on nutrient deficiencies then add them to your diet and supplement regimen; especially targeting protein, calcium, fiber, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. Diet counts!!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Staying properly hydrated enables the brain to stay alert so we can keep our attention and focus. Drinking water also regulates the brain’s temperature and gets rid of toxins and dead cells. Studies have identified a link between dehydration and mood disturbances, showing that adequate hydration is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health. Drink lots of water!!

Address Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is a major contributing factor to aging in the brain and the body as a whole. Because the body’s ability to produce its own antioxidants declines with age, it is imperative to make lifestyle choices that reduce exposure to toxins and other things that create oxidative stress in the body. Proper levels of antioxidants leads to the production and function of neurotransmitters, supports the production of hormones and stem cells, which is key to keeping the brain functioning at its best. More antioxidants!

And finally, remember to Protect Your Head!  Moderate to severe head injuries, even without diagnosed concussions, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

Every year on April 22nd, people gather all around the world to celebrate a very special holiday – Earth Day. This event has been recognized since 1970 and promotes awareness of a multitude of environmental issues on a global scale. Annually, this recognition has a different Earth Day theme and this year’s theme is Invest In Our Planet which will center on “accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change, and to activate everyone – governments, citizens, and businesses – to do their part”. (EDO) also encourages Earth Day observers to “recognize our collective responsibility and to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all” according to press materials EDO sent, Green Matters, ahead of the public announcement. “For Earth Day 2022, we all need to come together,” Kathleen Rogers, President of EDO, tells Green Matters exclusively in an email.

Companies around the world understand that a real shift needs to be made to make a difference in our communities and on a larger scale. As pioneers in sustainability, Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) is focusing on the triple bottom line to measure success and encouraging others to get on board. This means we are taking people, planet and prosperity into account when making each and every decision. By doing so, we are committing to the health of our community and our world every single day. At BGV, we celebrate Earth Day every day. What can you do to Invest In Our Planet? Join BGV and EARTHDAY.ORG in this movement and learn all the ways you can get involved here: Earth Day: The Official Site | EARTHDAY.ORG.

Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is in the business of changing lives. They do so by providing an affordable, high-quality education right here in beautiful Summit County. CMC students and graduates are essential members of our community as they prepare your taxes, cook extraordinary meals at your favorite restaurants, own local businesses, drive collective social and environmental action, provide health care services, keep our communities safe, and teach your elementary school students.

Thanks to the generosity of friends like you and partnerships with businesses such as Breckenridge Grand Vacations, CMC is thrilled about the opportunities they can provide to students and Summit County residents!

  • Scholarships – Colorado Mountain College Foundation (CMCF) extended 111 scholarships to Summit County students this past academic year totaling $227,166 in awards. Initiated by the late Rob Millisor, Breckenridge Grand Vacations has generously supported an annual scholarship each year designed for a BGV employee or a child of a BGV employee. Interested? Additional details can be found here: BGV Scholarship.
  • Student Housing – CMC is constructing 38 units (with approximately 50-60 beds) of on-campus apartment-style student housing locally to address the difficulty many students have finding a place to live. Construction is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2023 and ready for leasing to students.
  • Health Focused Capital Campaign – CMC is responding to the growing need for nurses in our mountain community by constructing a new high-fidelity nursing simulation lab that will double the number of nursing students CMC can enroll annually. Plans also include the addition of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)/Outdoor Education Technician (OUT) skills lab including a two-story repelling wall to ensure qualified graduates can respond during emergency care situations. CMCF seeks to raise $2 million to support the construction of this new facility that at full capacity can support 70 nursing students and 425 EMT/OUT students annually. Interested? Join us either as a donor or a student in EMT or nursing!
  • Affordable & Adventurous – The tuition for a bachelor’s degree at CMC is one of the lowest in the country and is the lowest in Colorado. CMC offers 7 bachelor degrees, 54 associate degrees, 77 certificate programs and international Study Abroad trips. Check out the 2022 class offerings!
  • Common Reader – Free event with Colorado’s own Craig Childs, America’s finest naturalist and adventurer. His book, The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, recounts dramatic, face-to-face meetings with sharks, bears, pumas, and winged species. Join us either in-person on March 30th at 7pm at the Breckenridge campus or live stream. Need the book? Contact Sarah Grant

Colorado Mountain College is looking forward to a big year in Summit County and whether you join CMC for a one-night culinary cooking class, enroll as a full-time student, volunteer as a mentor, or provide pathways for students to pursue their dreams and enhance our economy – CMC is a college that is here for you!

To learn more about CMC Foundation or to give, visit or contact Sarah Grant at

CMC Summit 2017 Graduates are congratulated follwing their graduation Friday during a ceremony in Keystone.

Josie Estrada (left) poses with her daughter Annabel Jaurez and granddaughter Daniela Jaurez. Josie attended CMC from 1996-2003 taking computer and first aid classes. She came back in 2012 to earn her associate of Spanish degree, which he completed in 2015. Annabel began taking classes toward an elementary education degree in 2014. After a few year break, she returned in 2019 to finish what she started.

Graduates of Colorado Mountain College Leadville’s ski area operations program celebrate their commencement by skiing down Dutch Henry Hill following the Spring 2021 commencement ceremony on Friday, May 7, 2021. Photo by Andy Colwell

Fall 2022 Study Abroad program to Nepal and Everest Base Camp

Timberline Adult Day Services is Summit County’s only respite care facility serving adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities. Respite care is temporary institutional care of a sick, elderly, or disabled person, providing relief for their usual caregiver. Respite care enables the individuals and families with adults in need of supervision to remain living in our community, where resources such as assisted living facilities simply do not exist.

Timberline’s program benefits both the individual and the caregiver by focusing on person-centered care, so that the entire family unit can function more effectively. Since opening their doors in 2003, Timberline has provided much-needed supervised care which includes socialization, life skills training and physical and mental exercise. Their dedicated team is committed to organizing both in-facility activities as well as a variety of community outings including snowshoeing, nature walks, adaptive biking, boating, and horseback riding.

Timberline’s diverse activity programming is made possible with the help of generous community partners and individual donors. Timberline is committed to continuing to provide excellent respite care within the community for many years to come.

Timberline is a nonprofit, IRS designated 501(c)(3), dependent on donations from the community to continue providing services for Summit County residents and visitors. Although they are a certified SADS center which allows them to receive payment through Medicare Waiver programs, the operational costs exceed the reimbursement funds by approximately 60%. This means that Timberline must raise approximately $200,000 annually to provide their services. Volunteering at Timberline is another way to support the organization. To learn more, donate or volunteer for Timberline, click on their website:  Summit County Respite Care | Caregiver Support | Adult Day Care (

Summit and Park County nonprofit organizations have been awarded a total of $3,446,365 in the last seven years by Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ (BGV) Grant Program. Grants supported a variety of community needs including programs and general operations for local human services, education and environmental programs; books for Summit School District classrooms; AED placements, education and community engagement; a variety of scholarship programs; avalanche safety and awareness education; theatre and music programs; youth athletic programs; tutoring assistance and more.

“This fall, BGV Gives received $422,196 in grant requests,” said Deb Edwards, BGV Gives Program Manager. “We take great pride in being able to support so many of our community organizations that provide important programs for our residents and guests. Our nonprofit organizations provide a myriad of critical and essential services, as well as quality of life offerings. Their contributions make living and working here so special.”

BGV awards grants to local organizations during two annual cycles: one in the spring and another in the fall. The spring 2021 cycle saw $240,860 awarded to 28 organizations including $127,000 to eleven Human Services agencies, $24,000 to four Educational organizations, $21,000 to four organizations in Art and Culture, $32,060 to five Environmental agencies, $31,800 to four Sports and Recreation groups and one grant in the amount of $5,000 in our “Other” category.

During the 2021 fall cycle, grants were awarded as follows: Human Services – thirteen grants for $162,000, Education – twelve grants for $82,260, Art & Culture – two grants for $17,500, Environment – one grant for $20,000 and Sports & Recreation – three grants for $35,000.

In 2021, more than $1.3 million has been awarded by Breckenridge Grand Vacations in cash and in-kind contributions through their Endowment and Donor Advised Funds at The Summit Foundation and directly from the company through BGV Gives.

Several organizations shared their visions for growth and development amongst their excitement when the award news was announced on December 20, 2021.

The Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) is so grateful for the generous funding we have received from BGV Gives for sponsorship of three special events and to support BOEC’s local youth programming. This financial support will increase overall revenue raised by each event which in turn supports BOEC’s mission to provide life-changing, adaptive outdoor recreation for those living with a disability or special need.  BOEC is also committed to meeting the community need in caring for local youth as we know that therapeutic outdoor recreation activities help mitigate social isolation and promotes mental health education and awareness across a multitude of populations.  We cannot stress enough how thankful we are for the ongoing support we have received from BGV Gives and how important this financial support is to us and to those who benefit from BOEC programs” shared Sonya Norris, BOEC Executive Director.

Additionally, Andrea Walker, manager of the Mountain Scholars Program at Colorado Mountain College was especially grateful for program funding again this year. “Thank you to Breckenridge Grand Vacations for awarding the Mountain Scholars Program funds this year! The Mountain Scholars Program plans to use the grant funds to aid first-generation students in degree completion rates as well as to provide students with tools for career readiness as they transition into the workforce. We are proud to have a completion rate 5-times the national average in thanks to our collaboration between The Summit Foundation, Colorado Mountain College, the Summit School District and funders like BGV Gives.”

Breckenridge Grand Vacations has a history of playing an active role in the community encouraging its employees to volunteer at local events and for philanthropic causes through paid volunteer hours. Through the end of 2021, BGV employees volunteered 3,580 total hours to community organizations equating to well over $100,000 in employer-paid volunteer time off. BGV also supports our community by being one of the largest year-round employers with more than 650 staff members, implementing a culture of excellence in customer service that develops and supports employees.

bgv food drive

Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) organized a holiday food drive from mid-December until early January with tremendous success. Collection boxes were located at each BGV office and resort location. Employees, guests and owners all contributed to the success of the food drive.

Everything from Asian noodles to soup to nuts to pasta to baby diapers to Zesta saltines filled 38 shopping bags with non-perishable items that were delivered to the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) earlier this month. After weighting and counting all the donations, the final results were 783 items weighing 815 pounds donated to the FIRC Food Pantry. What a great way to fill the shelves and provide food to so many local families!

Breckenridge Grand Vacations is proud to support our community nonprofit organizations that provide critical services to our community. Thanks to everyone who contributed and volunteered to make the food drive such a great success.

Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) is dedicated to sustainable efforts and best practices to minimize impact on the local mountain environment where we play and live. One of the ways we do that is through reducing the amount of waste we send to the landfill, which sometimes takes some creativity!

In early 2020 when we rebranded and implemented a new logo, we were faced with a pile of vinyl banners that were destined for the landfill. With a current goal of increasing our waste diversion by 5% every year, our Sustainability Department researched alternatives, so the banners didn’t go to waste. Throughout their research, they found Green Guru, a Boulder-based company that uses old outdoor gear such as bike tubes and climbing rope and repurposes them into new outdoor products like bike saddle bags, backpacks, and totes. Green Guru was the perfect solution to our problem, as they would take our banners and turn them into luggage tags.

On a mission to reduce waste outside of our own company operations, the department decided to ask for old banners from organizations throughout the county. We received banners from local nonprofits, government agencies and businesses, collecting a total of 540 square feet of old banners – the size of an average studio apartment!

BGV’s Sustainability Team took a trip to Boulder to tour Green Guru’s facility and drop off the materials to be repurposed. Green Guru worked their magic and turned the banners into 3,000 branded luggage tags! This exciting effort supported our waste diversion goal and kept things Colorado local. These luggage tags will be handed out to owners, guests and employees at company events and trainings.

Just another example of BGV’s commitment to sustainability and the company’s dedicated staff working to “be green” wherever we can.