Wilderness Inquiry is thrilled to announce a partnership with the Sierra Club's Military Families Outdoors program to serve veterans on outdoor adventure training trips. These trips are designed to build on you, the veterans’ and active duty, National Guard, or Reserve leadership experience and promote lifelong outdoor recreation skills.
WI has a long history of serving veterans and their families. We serve about 800 veterans through our trips and programs every year. In the 1990s, WI led a major support program for the Agent Orange Class Assistance Program, which served Vietnam veterans with PTSD and other disabilities related to Agent Orange exposure. This past year WI partnered with the Reeve Foundation and Craig Hospital to serve veterans and their families on a five-day kayaking adventure. WI also continues to provide outdoor experiences through sponsored veteran exchange trips.
These many years of serving our veterans have only proven and strengthened our mission to provide the kind of enjoyment, learning, and healing that shared outdoor adventure can provide. One veteran who completed an Everglades trip believes the outdoors not only builds healing, but also provides team-building and personal growth:
"Being a Vietnam veteran, I have always avoided prolonged exposure to rain and getting wet. Being with others of my same bent helped me overcome this issue. I was dry, snug, and comfortable despite the environment. Sometimes, only nature can provide the right challenges at the right time."
Through this partnership with the Sierra Club, WI will provide four training trips for 36 veterans. On these trips, they will spend 6-7 days alongside fellow veterans camping, paddling, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors with our experienced trail staff who will train them to lead their own adventure trips. At each location, veterans will receive canoe or kayak instruction and lessons in outdoor leadership, outdoor cooking and food preparation, camp selection and set-up, and use of adaptive equipment for people with disabilities. Veterans will also have the opportunity to connect with representatives from local chapters of the Sierra Club to learn about the area’s local preservation efforts. The training opportunities will be offered in the following locations, each a Sierra Club priority habitat:
• Florida Everglades 10,000 Islands 6-Day
March 5-10, 2012 (12 veterans)
• Boundary Waters Canoe Area 7-Day
June 10-16, 2012 (7 veterans)
Aug 27-Sep 2, 2012 (7 veterans)
• Yellowstone Lake Backcountry Canoe 6-Day
July 27-Aug 1, 2012 (10 veterans)
Every day, Americans enjoy the freedom of exploring our shared outdoor heritage. This is our chance to say "thank you" by helping veterans gain the skills and know-how to enjoy the public lands that they have fought so hard to protect.
For more information about the program and how you can get involved, contact project director Dave Haugen at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 612-676-9418.