History of BOLD

It all started when Frenchman Jean Eymere, a ski instructor in Aspen, Colorado lost his sight through diabetes. A few years after losing his sight, in 1969, he wanted to ski again. His friends and colleagues at the ski school assisted him and guided him safely down the mountain. This experiment was so encouraging, that the Aspen Ski School invited a group of blind persons from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs to share their new learned skills.

The Aspen Lions Club sponsored this event and provided bright yellow Jackets with a Lions emblem and a big imprint: “Blind Skier”. Aspen BOLD was born. The news media picked up on the story; famous Olympic skiers like Kikki Cutter, Jean Claude Killy (a friend of the blind Jean Eymere), Stein Eriksen, Judy Nagel, Spider Sabich and several others were on the Advisory Board; including Sam Skobel from Chicago and our own Lion Dick Kapp from Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Southeastern Wisconsin Lions BOLD

In 1973/1974 during his term as District Governor of District 27A2 Lion Dick Kapp formed Milwaukee BOLD. It was DG Lion Dick’s intention to get Lions and Lionesses directly and personally involved with leisure activities for the Visually Impaired and totally blind Persons (VIPs). VIPs from the Greater Milwaukee Area, from Hartford, Waukesha and Fond du Lac joined the group.

District 27A1 also got involved quite actively with participants from Racine and Kenosha and therefore BOLD was renamed: Southeastern Wisconsin Lions BOLD, Inc. In 1977 Southeastern Wisconsin Lions BOLD, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Wisconsin. Today approximately 180 VIPs, of which approximately 10 are Lions and Lionesses and approximately 90 volunteer guides, of which about 15 are Lions and Lionesses, participate in programs throughout the year.

What started out in January 1974, nervously, with 5 blind people wanting to go downhill skiing has grown into an average of 26 different summer and winter activities. Almost every other weekend some event is scheduled for the VIPs.

BOLD's Mission

BOLD is open to all legally blind people. Event participation is free. The organization is managed by a Board of Directors of ten, of which six have to be Lions or Lioness Club members. BOLD’s purpose is to allow the blind and visually impaired to experience outdoor sports and leisure activities while developing their social and athletic skills. A valuable by-product is the interaction between new and often distraught VIPs and our veterans who have varying degrees of visual impairment.