Panama City, FL. Saturday, July 21
Today was a great day. Six vets arrived in Panama City, Florida for Standup Paddleboard for Veterans (SUPV) first official class. The 8 hour course took place on the Panama City campus of Florida State University. Led by retired Navy SEAL Ed Naggiar, a group of men and a woman, all active duty learned what it takes to stand down, regroup and find a “new normal.”
Early on, I got to size them up and found that all seemed to be in great shape despite the fact that a few smoked cigarettes while waiting for the classroom to be unlocked. Ed started with a “lean into it” attitude and didn’t stop the whole day. You couldn’t help but feel motivated to try harder when listening to him. I want to say that the highlight was seeing everyone learn to paddleboard with none or very little experience, however, it was not the case. Two situations in particular stand out.
First was when I taught a yoga class on the paddleboards. If you don’t know already, yoga is more than just stretching, it is physically challenging and mentally tough too. As a yoga teacher I saw them try hard and fail to do certain yoga poses. Their failures resulted in a refreshing fall into the water and a quick smile on their faces! No worries! They knew in advance these yoga poses wouldn’t be easy. The second situation that stands out was when we were in the classroom learning about advancing our self goals. We were tasked with creating our own personal mission statements. After each of us spent time creating our mission statements, we shared them with our neighbors.
This turned out to be so much more than a lame self-improvement course. I am proud to be part of SUPV and look forward to teaching many more combat vets in the future as a part of SUPV. Watch our video to see veterans in resting pose on paddle boards.
Special thanks to Hovie (http://www.hoviesup.com/) for the paddleboards.