Monday, November 10, 2014

The North Face: Stacy's Story

Full Ruck -- A Veteran in the Wilderness

An inspirational story about the healing power of wilderness. When Veteran Josh Brandon was a Company Commander, he and his lieutenants taught themselves to climb and found it to be better than any kind of medication or therapy they were getting at the time. Since then, the mountains have become a new home for Josh, who now runs the Sierra Club's Military Outdoors program. A film by Brian Mockenhaupt shot during a recent Adventure Film School. "Too many people pity vets-- or feel bad that they went through combat, and a lot of vets suck that right up... and bullshit! What made you great and what we're supposed to honor you for what you've done should be the same attitude that you have back in the Unites States; so if you were a leader and a warrior in combat, you should be a leader and a warrior here. You don't need help from society, society needs help from you."

Saturday, September 20, 2014


R4 Alliance is a membership of programs of excellence providing therapeutic and community based recreation services to the military family. They are focused and committed to achieving the highest quality services through collaborative efforts in research, education, standards of excellence, economic viability, and continuum of care across our service community. They believe these services are essential to the holistic rehabilitation and reintegration of the military family.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New book "Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves Through Farming & Outdoor Activities

Field Exercises

How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities

by Stephanie Westlund

There are nearly 25 million veterans and active-duty soldiers in North America. Some experts estimate that more than one quarter of these men and women suffer from post-traumatic distress, and many other military personnel experience difficulty reintegrating into civilian life. While conventionally prescribed treatments primarily involve medication and therapy, many people are discovering additional ways to manage their injuries and reduce their suffering.
Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities shares the compelling stories of men and women who are finding relief from stressful and traumatic military experiences while also establishing community networks and other peer support initiatives. Author Stephanie Westlund examines:
  • The deep and far-reaching connections between nature and human health
  • The tremendous impact of stress and trauma on survivors' lives
  • Resources and groups providing opportunities in the emerging field of "Green Care".
Field Exercises offers hope for veterans searching for methods to ease the transition to civilian life and recover from military stress and trauma. This book will appeal to millions of North American soldiers, veterans and their loved ones, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, and other caregivers, other groups struggling with high rates of stress and post-traumatic experience, and all those interested in the human-nature relationship.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Understanding the Outdoor Recreation and Restoration Program Leader as “Caregiver” in the Returning Veteran Context: Identifying Training Needs and Gaps

This webinar introduced the emerging role of outdoor recreation and restoration activities as therapeutic and resilience building for this generation’s returning warriors. Special attention was given to better identifying and understanding the role of “care-giver” in these emergent outdoor recreation and restoration programs for veterans, and then exploration of what training needs might exist for these unique caregivers.

Presentation Slides (PDF)
Presentation Slides (Slideshare)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Salute to Outdoor Programs Helping Wounded Veterans

Experts say that outdoor recreation has proved to be especially effective in treating veterans, and a wide variety of programs have emerged, from 6-month treks on the AT to one-day bike rides. In the last couple of years, veterans’ outdoor programs have also become more sophisticated by developing partnerships to broaden their reach and researching how nature and adventure affect war injuries.

Veterans and experts share thoughts on why outdoor recreation is so helpful for veterans with physical and emotional wounds.

A Salute to Outdoor Programs Helping Wounded Veterans « The Adventure Post

Monday, February 10, 2014

Group outdoor activities therapeutic for veterans - The Clinical Advisor

After the outdoor experience, participants reported being more likely to participate in activities that involved exploration and to listen to and help others. Many reported lower levels of stress and higher levels of tranquility. Veterans who initially reported more severe on-going health issues had particularly strong positive changes.

“The positive outcomes associated with these programs can partly be attributed to spending time in restorative natural environments, however there are a number of other aspects of this experience that likely play an important role, such as personal challenge and companionship with other veterans,” the researchers wrote.

See the article here-
Group outdoor activities therapeutic for veterans - The Clinical Advisor

Friday, January 31, 2014