Serve Outdoors Honors the Brave All September
Through its second annual Serve Outdoors initiative, the Sierra Club is proud to join Americans in communities across the country all during September in honoring those who bravely serve our nation by volunteering to help clean up and preserve our great outdoors for future generations.
In the spirit of the 10-year anniversary of September 11th, the Sierra Club's Serve Outdoors events will honor those who have served our county and offer opportunities for youth, veterans, military families and diverse communities across the nation to participate.
The Sierra Club's Mission Outdoors Program, Water Sentinels, and the Sierra Student Coalition are responsible for these events and is made up of Building Bridges to the Outdoors, Inner City Outings, Local Outings, and the Military Family and Veterans Program.
We've got a series of events that've already happened to highlight for you!
Stacy Bare, the National Military Family and Veteran Representative for the Sierra Club, summitted Grand Teton with a group of veterans on the morning of Sept. 11th last weekend. He called it a "summit to remember." (and that summit is pictured above)
On Sept. 11th, 2011, a total of 17 people summitted the Grand Teton: nine veterans, six guides, and two media crew members. Our first team summitted at 8:03am, which is 10 years to the minute from when the last tower fell in NYC. Partners for this trip were the American Alpine Club, Veterans Expeditions, and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.
One of the participants, former Navy Quartermaster Aaron Plant, had this to say, "I was able to leave things on the mountain that have haunted me for years. I went up with a great weight on my shoulders and coming down I felt as if I could fly off the mountain."
It was an incredibly important living memorial to our nation and to those who have sacrificed on our behalf since 9/11/01 and even before. The reception we received in Jackson Hole and on the mountain was fantastic.
Here's another account of the summit.
Bare also took part in several other Serve Outdoor events.
Honolulu, Hawaii: Partnering with AccessSurf, more than 80 people – the majority of them veterans - paddled out on the water. This event received recognition from the Mayor of Honolulu (PDF).
Inner City Outings held some great Serve Outdoors events as well. On some public land along the South Fork of the American River, a huge group of Sequioa High School students played and worked during the weekend of September 11th. They rafted, played games, camped, cooked and cleaned, learned leadership and teamwork skills, and pulled scotch broom and cut poison oak
This particular group was the school's alternative learning experience, called Team Ascent, for "high risk" students. The program promotes physical exercise, discipline and the individual's development of integrity, knowledge and character. Students facing life challenges of gangs, drugs, and violence, have the opportunity to break down social barriers and to build relationships with each other and youth leaders / mentors.
"It's great to get outside and serve the outdoors so others can share in all the experiences the outdoors has to offer," said Shad Emam, one of the students who participated. "It's important for me to get outdoors and serve on 9/11, in particular, to use the negative memories to accomplish something positive."
Here are some highlighted upcoming Serve Outdoors events:
San Diego - Paddle Out for Heroes: This event was postponed until November due to one environmental issue that does need more attention – a major sewage spill. In any case, the Paddle Out for Heroes event, which was a combined effort of the Sierra Club, Awakenings Health Institute, Outdoor Outreach, and Operation Amped, will get 100 youth, veterans, military families, police, and firemen in the water to paddle out in the time-honored tradition of surfing communities everywhere to remember those the community has lost.
September 25th - Family Outdoor Fun Day at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia: Partnering with the Ft. Belvoir Elementary School, the Sierra Club will be serving the families and youth of those who served through providing food, transportation, and access to kayaking and the like for an estimated. More than 250 military youth and families are expected to attend.
October 1st - New Climbers Day in Maryland: The Sierra Club is partnering with Potomac Appalachian Trail Club-Mountaineering Section, Walter Reed, and the Fisher House to provide introductory climbing classes for up to 20 wounded warriors and their families.
Get involved in an event near you!