Wednesday, July 31, 2024 – Friday, August 2, 2024
Hotel Colorado 526 Pine Street, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
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Empowering substance use recovery peers throughout Colorado’s rural areas and beyond, through education, collaboration, and shared experiences, nurturing a supportive community committed to healing and growth.


The Colorado Rural Peer Conference aims to provide peer recovery professionals with comprehensive resources, continuous professional development, and meaningful connections in a nurturing rural setting, fostering a supportive network for recovery and wellness through peer-led initiatives.

View our 2023 schedule and speakers below; 2024 update available soon!


8-9am Breakfast is Served in the Colorado Room
9am KEYNOTE Devereux Ballroom:

Racquel Garcia the founder, CEO and Executive Director of HardBeauty, Rediscovering Home‘ (CE)

10:15 Breakout #1:
  1. Devereux Ballroom: Rachel Fowler, Director of Training and Development at Serenity Recovery Connection, ’Critical Thinking and Professionalism’ (CE)
  2. Colorado Room: Gabe Cohen, Executive Director of Discovery Cafe, Chaplin and 3 X Krav Maga Black Belt, ‘My American Krav Maga Journey ‘
  3. Roosevelt Room: Kristi Roe, Certified Peer and Family Specialist an Advocacy Manager with Valley-Wide Health Systems, ‘ Wellbeing Toolkit ‘
12-1:15pm Lunch is Served in the Colorado Room

During the lunch hour:
Roosevelt Room: The BHA Peer Workforce Quarterly Collaborative is from 12-1:30pm. There will be discussion about the new BHA Peer Steering Committee, grant opportunities, administrative issues such as licensing and billing (from 12:00-1:00), and networking (from 1:00-1:30).
To register individually for the webinar, do so here.

1:15pm Breakout #2:
  1. Devereux Ballroom: Panel Discussion on Harm Reduction (CE)
    Maggie Seldeen, Founder, Director and Peer at High Rockies Harm Reduction
    Leah Winningham, Ram Recovery President at Colorado State University
    Hans Pearson, North Colorado Health Alliance (NCHA) Addiction Response Team (ART)
    Chris Buysse, Prevention Peer Specialist with Bee The Vibe
    Darin Valdez, Executive Director at Colorado Artists in Recovery
  2. Colorado Room: Rob Shearon, founder of the Reconnected Foundation, and the RECONNECTED app, ‘Running Towards Recovery: A Community Approach to Innovation and Engagement’ (CE)
  3. Roosevelt Room: Panel Discussion –  ‘Collaboration to Improve Outcomes‘ (CE)
    Amanda Buckner, Community Relations Manager for Foundry Treatment Center
    Tabitha Miller, Director of Alumni and Recovery Support Services
    Recovery Coach Professional/Facilitator with Harmony Foundation
    Sean Hoy, Director of Programs with STEP Denver
    Coreen Braden, Colorado Program Assistant, Arapahoe County Chapter Lead Young People in Recovery
2:45pm Breakout #3:
  1. Devereux Ballroom: Teri Smith, Founder and CEO of ke’nekt,’ ‘Nurturing Your Well-being: An Interactive Self-Care Journey’ (CE)
  2. Colorado Room: Panel Discussion on Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative (CE)
    Jennifer Place, Senior Program Manager with Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
    Dr. John Narine, Founder of Recovery Friendly Leader, Author of Leading Workforce Addiction, and Ambassador for Colorado’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative
    David Shapiro, Senior Manager of Programs and Partnerships at the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE)
    Chris Ray and Nele Cashmore, Peer Recovery Specialists with The Health Partnership
  3. Roosevelt Room: Panel Discussion on Justice Involved Peer Work and Care Coordination (CE)
    Kevin Kohlbrenner, Justice Involved Care Coordinator with The Health Partnership
    Daniel Schellenger, DOC Adult Division and Milestone Community Wellness
4pm KEYNOTE Devereux Ballroom:

Rev. Ryan Canaday, Pastor and Executive Director of FREE Spiritual Community,  ‘Overcoming the Shame & Breaking the Silence of Addiction’

Thursday PM Activity:

Copper Top Bar at Hotel Colorado will have a menu offering non-alcoholic drinks for conference attendees to enjoy the night of Thursday July 27th.

6-8pm Peer Recovery Rafting Rendezvous:

This event requires attendance of the 3rd annual Colorado Rural Peer Recovery Conference.

Hotel Colorado Lobby, dinner not included!

Attendees of the Colorado Rural Peer Conference will be picked up at the Hotel Colorado at 6pm by Glenwood Adventure Company. Dinner will not be provided. This is a 2 hour excursion door to door. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and bring a warm jacket for after. You can bring water or sodas. This is for beginners and intermediate river enthusiasts. Life vests, helmets, and training are all supplied. Limit of 30 reservations on app sign up. Can accommodate up to 40 persons.

**suggested CASH tip for rafting guides**

Please sign up here. Or email directly to make your reservation.

Sponsored by The Phoenix

Escape the crowds that are found on the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon and enjoy a beautiful, pristine stretch of water that has unbelievable Rocky Mountain scenery.  A perfect mix of calm water and whitewater. The float from through Glenwood Springs offers incredible views of 13,000 ft. Mount Sopris, interesting geology, possible sightings of bald eagles and other wildlife, and fun class II/III whitewater.

Friday July 28th (2023)


7am Energy and Inclusion Morning Gentle Yoga, Roosevelt Room:

Chris Ray from The Health Partnership in the Hotel Colorado

Attendees of the Colorado Rural Peer Conference can join The Health Partnership’s Chris Ray in a gentle morning yoga session to connect to their bodies and others in recovery. This is a gentle yoga for all and celebrates beginners to advanced yogis in all capacities of life. Chris Ray learned of the benefits of yoga while in inpatient rehab at The Foundry in Steamboat Springs and now shares it with our Recovery Community. Teaching classes for men in treatment at The Foundry weekly as well as for The Health Partnership Clean and Sober Steamboat classes, Chris is honored to bring a class to our peers and highlight that yoga is for EVERYONE. Mats and blocks provided. Wear comfortable clothes and be prepared for a smooth and awakening experience designed to uplift and relax simultaneously. Class is 1 hour long and breakfast, juice, and coffee will be provided after class in the lobby of The Hotel Colorado. Limit class to 50 people.

Sponsored by The Phoenix

8-9am Breakfast is Served
9am Breakout:
  1. Colorado Room: Logan Kuhn and Hanna Bates with Valley-Wide Systems present The Coffee Break Project
  2. Roosevelt Room: Jennifer Place, Senior Program Manager with Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, ‘Integrating Rigorous Honesty and Emotional Intelligence. ‘ (CE)
  3. Devereux Ballroom: Rica “Muneca” Rodriguez with Embark/PCA Colorado, Promotores de Esperanza Program, Program Director & Peer Specialist, ‘Promotores de Esperanza’ (CE)
10:30 am KEYNOTE Devereux Ballroom:

Vic Vela, Weekend Host / Reporter, CPR News, Colorado Public Radio, ‘Back from Broken ‘

Keynote Speakers:


Racquel Garcia

Founder, CEO and Executive Director of HardBeauty, ‘Rediscovering Home‘ (CE)

Racquel’s background includes building five grassroots organizations and businesses; Coaching clients one-on-one and cultivating other coaches to build their best lives; presenting and training organizations and donors to de-stigmatize and educate on the reality of overcoming substance misuse, systemic and familial obstacles, advocating for underserved populations; and speaking on Racial Equity, Power of the Peer/Coaching Professional and Criminal Justice Reform. She owns HardBeauty LLC and is the Executive Director of the HardBeauty Foundation. The first and only Peer led organization in Douglas County Colorado that serves the entire state with virtual coaching and programming. 

Racquel has her Associates Degree in Addiction Counseling from ICDC College. She is also a National Certified Peer Recovery Specialist with NAADAC, ARISE Interventionist, Gottman Institute 7 Principles of Marriage Leader/Facilitator and Certified Youth Mentor, Resilience and Leadership Coach with Youth Coaching Institute. Racquel is also a Subject Matter Expert and Training Facilitator for C4 Innovations, doing work on behalf of SAMSHA and the Opiate Response network at the National Level subject include, Peer Recovery, Culturally Inclusive Motivational Interviewing, JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity), Trauma Informed Care & Supervision, Cultivating Inclusive Workplaces and more. 

March 31st Racquel began a 2 year term on the Colorado Opiate Abatement Council, where she was one of six people personally appointment by the Attorney General. In October of 2022 she accepted the position of Co-Chair Behavioral Health Administration Advisory Council (BHAAC) to co-create a people-first behavioral health system that meets the needs of all people in Colorado.  She is also Vice Chair for the National Naloxone Project alongside Dr. Don Stader, and she is a leader of their M.O.M Initiative, Maternal Overdose Matters. Tough As A Mother Stronger Than Addiction, a state wide campaign calls Racquel their most powerful influencer for the work and impact she has with Mama’s in Colorado and across the country. Racquel is also on the Colorado Region 12 Opioid Advisory Committee, Board of Directors for the Colorado Association of Addiction Professionals and Vice-President of the non-profit Camp Orange Heart.  

In her spare time, Racquel LOVES being with her husband of 26 years, Chris. 4 Children, Jordan, Mackenzie, Jayden, Jesse and her bonus children Sabryna, Shea and Sebastyan. She also loves her quiet Colorado Mountain home, small-town living and traveling the world. 


Rev. Ryan Canaday

Pastor and Executive Director of FREE Spiritual Community,  ‘Overcoming the Shame & Breaking the Silence of Addiction’

Rev. Ryan Canaday serves as Pastor and Executive Director of FREE Spiritual Community in Denver, Colorado. FREE is a recovery community for Addicts, Loved Ones of Addicts, and Spiritual Refugees. Ryan and his wife, Tami, founded FREE in 2018 to break the silence of addiction and create space for healing, recovery, and spiritual connection. Ryan is active in recovery and has been sober since January 7, 2013.


Vic Vela

Weekend Host / Reporter, NPR News, Colorado Public Radio, ‘Back from Broken’

Vic Vela is a 5-time Edward R. Murrow award winning broadcast journalist. He’s currently a news and podcast host for Denver’s NPR station, Colorado Public Radio, where he hosts “Back from Broken”, a show about recovery and comeback stories. Vic has been sober and in recovery for 8 years after struggling with crack cocaine addiction for much of his life.


Thank you to our 2024 sponsors!


This conference is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,000,000 with 25% percentage funded by HRSA/HHS and 75% percentage funded by non government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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