No Barriers Overcomes Obstacles Through Adventure

A Fort Collins nonprofit inspires people through immersive expeditions in Colorado and around the world.

A 2017 expedition to Nepal included a ride to Muktinath. Photo courtesy of No Barriers.

Everyone faces obstacles in one form or another. Dave Shurna, co-Founder of the Fort Collins-based nonprofit No Barriers, has made it his life’s work to help people overcome those obstacles, find purpose, and actively change their lives. “Our work is to help people tap into the light inside of them that knows anything is possible,” Shurna says. Through group travel and outdoor programs, No Barriers provides transformative adventures to students, educators, veterans, and anyone who strives to live the “No Barriers Life.” The organization’s seven-part framework—composed of steps called Vision, Reach, Pioneer, Rope Team, Alchemy, Summits, and Elevate—helps participants live with purpose and impact, no matter what adversities they face.


“The vision from the beginning was that one of the best ways to learn is to get outside your comfort zone—explore another place, another culture—and learn alongside peers,” Shurna says. The question for Shurna and his co-founders was: How do we provide these life-changing adventures to people who really need them? No Barriers became their answer and they’ve been impacting lives ever since its 2003 launch. “For us, travel isn’t just the tool we use to teach participants; it’s the tool that helps participants find the strength to transform their lives,” Shurna says.

How it works

With programs in almost 20 countries, partnerships with the National Parks Service and other organizations, and curriculum implementation in schools, No Barriers spreads its vision to individuals in need across our state and the globe through expeditions and experiential events. Shurna says, “Our core value is: What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way. I love seeing people use this to do extraordinary things.”

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Get involved

Says Shurna, “One of our biggest needs as a nonprofit is awareness—to have a network of people who believe in us and share our story. Another is certainly our huge need for financial support. We love people to get involved as volunteers too.”

On the horizon

In 2020, No Barriers will touch more school systems across America in the fall with their revamped curriculum, reach countless individuals with the caretaker program introduced last year, and expand their mountain campus just outside Fort Collins to include an accessible ropes course and overnight accommodations.

More info

June 26-July 3, No Barriers offers an 8-day “Boots, Boats, and Climbing Ropes” adventure trip in Fort Collins for 12- to 14-year-olds. Click the link to see the summer schedule of camps and expeditions.