Resources and Organizations Getting Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Outdoors
A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine reached out on behalf of a few veterans he knew and asked if there was one place where someone could get information on all the various outdoor recreation opportunities that existed for folks. Part of the challenge of being a veteran today is that our country has really responded in a huge way to the needs of our service men and women, veterans, and their families and the support can be difficult to manage at times.
What follows is a list of organizations that provide outdoor opportunities for service members, veterans, and their families. While we have had a lot of positive experiences in many of these organizations, please do not use this list as an endorsement of different organizations over another. Each organization has many positives but may not be the right fit for an individual.
This list is meant as a starting point for individual research and decision-making and is certainly not exhaustive. Please list other resources in the comments section and we’ll update this as we learn about more organizations. All Military members and their dependants have free access to public lands. More information on the program, called The America the Beautiful pass can be found here.
A great place to start for sifting through the support providers and support wanted or needed can be found at Warrior Gateway: http://www.warriorgateway.org/ for a number of different resources.
Obviously, we at Sierra Club Outdoors are very proud of the many opportunities we provide for service members, veterans and their families, more information can always be found at this blog and the website here: http://content.sierraclub.org/outings/military
Additionally, all veterans and military family members receive 10% off our National Outings, which can be found here: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/military-discount.aspx
One of the neatest programs we’ve had the opportunity to partner with is the National Military Family Associations Operation Purple Program which sends military kids to summer camp: http://www.militaryfamily.org/our-programs/operation-purple/
A number of outdoor recreation and recreational therapy organizations have come together to form the R4 Alliance to try and minimize these challenges of finding the right opportunities and can be found here: http://r4alliance.org/current-members/
Includes links to Ride to Recovery, Project Sanctuary, Team River Runner, Higher Ground, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Northeast Passage, Terros, and Operation Game On are all current members along with the Sierra Club.
- Colorado based, but nationally operating Veterans Expeditions: http://vetexpeditions.com/
- Outward Bound for Veterans has several opportunities nationwide: http://www.outwardbound.org/veteran-adventures/outward-bound-for-veterans/
- Paradox Sports, also based in Colorado and working nationally: http://paradoxsports.org/
- Soldiers to Summits, which generally offers one expedition each year and women’s retreats as well: http://soldierstosummits.org/
- Wounded Warrior Project’s Project Odyssey: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/combat-stress-recovery-program/project-odyssey.aspx
- Operation Climb On in Utah: http://www.mountained.com/operation-climb-on/
- Sportainability does a lot of work with veterans: http://sportainability.com/
- Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities: https://challengeaspen.org/military/
- Wasatch Adaptive Sports headquartered out of Snowbird, Utah: http://wasatchadaptivesports.org/
- The National Ability Center in Park City, UT: http://www.discovernac.org/
- AmpSurf: http://ampsurf.org/ and Operation Amped do surfing with many veterans: http://operationamped.com/
- The Montana Wilderness Association has a veterans program: http://wildmontana.org/
- If you’re into hunting, Veteran Outdoors: http://www.veteran-outdoors.com/ and Camp Patriot: http://www.camppatriot.org/ offer hunts as well as other opportunities outdoors.
Again, this list is not complete, far from of it. Please tell us in the comments section who we’re missing and hopefully this can be a resource for other service members, veterans, and families who want to find resources to get outdoors.