21 Organizations Trying To Get Veterans Active In Outdoorsmanship

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Kyle Stozek climbs Turtle Rock near Buena Vista, Colo. He was one of several veterans participating in an Outward Bound veteran expedition.
Photo by Samantha Quigley

When I came home from war, it was time outside that kept me alive, and ultimately connected me to a community of veterans and non-veterans who helped me later to thrive. I realized it was the country --- the very physical country contained in all its forests, mountains, beaches, tundra, prairie, and everything in between --- that I fought for. It was these lands and trees and waters that allowed me to meet my fellow resident as an equal; we had the same opportunities, we had the same access. Even if we didn’t have all of our limbs, or all of our mind still with us, we could make what we chose to make of a day outside.


As summer starts, I want you to get out there, find a new mission in a mountain to climb or a river to run, or even an adventure in your local park or backyard. Rather than continue to wax poetically about the beauty of the outdoors, take a look through the list below for opportunities available to you, and get outdoors.

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.

A great place to start sifting through the support providers and support wanted or needed listings can be found at Warrior Gateway, which provides a number of different resources for service members and veterans to connect.

All military members and their dependents have free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites and public lands through a program called America the Beautiful. Be sure to check out the locations closest to you and your family and pick up a pass right away.

Obviously, we at Sierra Club Outdoors are very proud of the many opportunities we provide for service members, veterans and their families. More information on trips and activities can always be found at our blog and website. Additionally, all veterans and military family members receive 10% off our national outings.

One of the programs we’ve had the opportunity to partner with is the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Program, which sends military kids to summer camp where they can connect with children from other military families.

A number of outdoor recreation and recreational therapy organizations have come together to form the R4 Alliance to try and minimize the challenges of finding the right opportunities and support organizations for military personnel and families.

Additionally, here are some other valuable organizations to check out:

Now get outside!

Stacy Bare is a climber, aspiring mountaineer, sometimes surfer, and OIF vet who is currently the director of Sierra Club Outdoors. He is a proud graduate of the University of Mississippi and lives with his wife in Utah.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

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The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

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SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.

Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.

Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.

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Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.

"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

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