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08/22/2013

Sierra Club Military Outdoors Dog Days of Summer

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It has been a fast paced summer for Sierra Club Military Outdoors. From the nations captiol, to the mountains of Texas, and on to the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake, we have had an extraordinary time in working for our military community. 

After having enjoyed a great week in Washington DC during the Great Outdoors America Week, Sarah Hodgdon, the Director of Conservation for the Sierra Club, featured our work and the critical issues facing both the military and the military community in her article Bridging the Green Khaki Divide on treehugger. 

Leaving the nation's capitol, SCMO headed off to the great state of Texas for our inaugural Outdoor Military Resiliency Leader Training with our partners Project Rebirth and Outward Bound. We spent seven days in the mountains of west Texas, forging ten Non Commissioned Officers from 4-27th Field Artillery Battalion as future Resiliency Outings Leaders in a rigorous array of outdoor leadership and technical skills. After completing a second training outing in Colorado in September with Outward Bound, these leaders will return to their unit and begin to lead their soldiers, peers, and families on outdoor outings as apart of their larger official resiliency mission within their unit. These outings will directly impact the mental, physical, and spiritual health of the soldiers in their unit as well as the larger community, resulting in their empowerment to overcome the challenges associated with life in the active duty military. The Outdoor Resiliency Leadership Program is the flagship program for SCMO, and we are looking forward with great excitement to future leadership training in Texas and the Pacific Northwest. 

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Right on the heels of our training in Texas, SCMO headed back to the nation's capitol to join BLM Acting Deputy Director Steve Ellis,  BLM Assistant Director Carl Roundtree, and Sierra Club Our Wild America Campaign Director Dan Chu for the signing of a  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will enable both organizations to work more effectively together on programs, training, and recreational activities for veterans and military families. Both organizations recognize that outings and activities on our public lands are a key tool in helping those who serve and have served continue to not only heal, but to empower them to continue to lead their nation and fellow citizens. Official Press Release 

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Joshua Brandon, Dan Chu, Steve Ellis, and Carl Roundtree

 Immediately following the historic BLM signing, SCMO jetted off to Salt Lake City to join the Sierra Club Outdoors and the team from the Sierra Magazine for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show. Here we engaged in a  whirl wind schedule in meeting with old friends and partners such as the American Alpine Club, and the North Face, as well as meeting with a host of outdoor companies and organizations in order to forge partnerships for the future in supporting our work with the military community. The highlight of the week was our first Veteran's Documentary Film Screening and Mixer. We were joined by SCMO friends and mentors Conrad Anker and Michael Brown for the viewing of the veteran climbing film High Ground, our very own Mission Outdoors Glacier National Park documentary, and a screening of one of our short films from our first Veteran Filmmaker Outing in collaboration with the Outside Adventure Film School. The film had a powerful and visible impact on the diverse mix of veterans, outdoor industry professionals, conservationists, and athletes at the event. A special thank you to Sierra Magazine, the North Face, Outdoor Research, Terramar, the Adventure Travel Association, Conrad Anker, and Michael Brown for making this event possible. We would also like to offer our appreciation for Danner Boots in hosting a nightly cocktail hour in support of SCMO. 

The next few weeks are full of amazing events for us. Our Sierra Club Outdoors Director Stacy Bare is leading a team of veterans on our second climate recon expedition in the Artic Circle. In September we will be leading a team of veterans in partnership with Veterans Expeditions on our annual 911 climb in the Olympics Range of Washington State, followed by our first veteran mentor climb in partnership with the American Alpine Club.  

 

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