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Positive Impact Of Outdoor Adventures On Returning War Veterans.

I don't think there is any other holiday that makes us feel more patriotic than 4th of July. No matter how trite it might sound, but it's when the fireworks start going off, you feel extremely proud to be an American, and at the same time ,it makes you think at what price it all came to us. You realize that those who serve our country deserve our profound appreciation. It is because of our war veterans that we remain strong as a nation, and we enjoy many of the freedoms we all-too-often take for granted.It makes you think what you can do to express your gratitude for their service.

In this post I want to write about two outdoor adventure projects in our state, that offer mental and physical healing for veterans, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, with post-traumatic stress disorder or injuries.

The Adventure blog had a great post about the first event I want to mention here
-Camp Patriot. This project is designed to assist disabled Veteran enjoy outdoor
adventures that will promote positive, life changing experiences.Camp Patriot encompass a wide range of outdoor activities for disabled soldiers such as hiking, mountain biking,fishing,kayaking,water skiing,para sailing and many more. Since 2006 Camp Patriot has been taking disabled veterans on many outdoor adventures from fly fishing in Montana to elk hunting in Idaho. In Washington state,this will be the third year they've been taking disable soldiers to the top of Mt Rainier. Having climbed Mt Rainier myself, I can only imagine, what unforgettable experience those guys will have.

Project Healing Waters was started in 2005 in the Washington, D.C. area, and there are now programs in 38 states. Our own Fort Lewis joined Project Healing Waters about a year ago.This project is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active duty military personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. Learning how to tie flies, cast a fly rod and hook a few fish and then going on a fishing outing to the Yakima River or American Lake, introduces soldiers to the tranquility and fascination that fly fishing offers. Many soldiers get hooked on fly fishing, and the time creating flies or casting for fish becomes a lifelong passion – and stress reliever.Fly fishing is a great outdoor activity that combines physical and mental therapy.

There is one more project that I want to mention here. It's not local ( though they do offer outings in our state too) , but it doesn't matter if you are a veteran from Washington state or anywhere else, it doesn't matter what your current military status is (active, inactive, discharged, retired) as long as you were deployed in support of OEF or OIF combat operations while in the military. You are still eligible to participate in this outstanding program.

Now days there are numerous outdoor adventure companies out there. But there is one that particularly stands out. I don't think there is a company that does more for our veterans than The Outward Bound. This adventure company offers enriching wilderness expeditions specifically designed for war veterans at no cost to the participants.
To learn how this company serves our nation's combat veterans visit their web site

With the help of the organizations like Camp Patriot, Project Healing Waters and the Outward Bound, our veterans can again enjoy the great outdoors and regain what they have lost. These organizations don't just offer outdoors outings, they help participating veterans build a supportive community with other war veterans and re-energizing and reinvigorate our veterans' spirits with adventures and challenges in the beautiful outdoors.

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