Tag Archives: Veterans

Military: Sign up now for free summer camp, and free family retreats

Military child climbs rock wall: Photo: NMFA
Military child climbs rock wall: Photo: NMFA

Applications are available now through April 6 for the National Military Family Association Operation Purple Camp program.  The program provides military children with 1 free week of summer camp in locations across the US.  Eligibility is as follows:

“Operation Purple camps are open to military children with a parent or guardian from any service branch, including National Guard and Reserve, Coast Guard, and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Priority is given to children who have a parent or guardian who incurred service-connected injuries or illness on or after 9/11 or will have a parent or guardian deployed during a 15-month deployment “window;” this includes pre-, during and post-deployment phases. Remaining camp slots are filled with any DEERS-eligible military child. Children of retired military personnel are eligible if the service member was injured or ill on or after 9/11 or deployed at any time during the current deployment “window” before retirement. Specific “window” time frames will  be announced each year.”

This is a TERRIFIC program. My daughter went while my husband was deployed to AFG.  It was a really great experience.

GO HERE TO read more and apply for kids summer camp

Family activity at Operation Purple Healing Adventures. Photo: NMFA
Family activity at Operation Purple Healing Adventures. Photo: NMFA

Also, families may apply to Operation Healing Adventure, in Northeastern Pennsylvania in June.

Operation Purple Healing Adventures celebrates rediscovering family-fun and togetherness after an injury. This FREE three-day experience combines family-focused activities with outdoor exploration, like hiking and canoeing to encourage each family’s growth on their new journey post-injury. Our Association welcomes wounded, ill, injured, medically separated, or medically retired military families to reconnect at Healing Adventures. Using specially adapted communication activities developed by FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress™), Healing Adventures ensures your family returns home strong and resilient. 

Food and lodging are provided to families at no cost. There are no activity fees or other expenses. Families are responsible for their own transportation to and from the program. 

Go here to apply for Operation Healing Adventures for families

San Francisco: 3rd Annual Veterans Day Gathering & Fundraiser

unnamedThe deepest honor we can give veterans is to cultivate peace. For the third year in a row, in honor of Veterans Day, we invite you to come and spend the afternoon with veterans, cultivating peace from the inside out.  

Please join us for the afternoon to witness and share veterans’ individual and collective journeys back to wholeness. There will be sharing by veterans, opportunities for connection as well as time to find ways you can contribute.

You can support HPW’s programs and these veterans by bringing a friend, neighbor, colleague or family member.

Sunday, November 9th from 1-4pm
Private Dining Room, Greens Restaurant, San Francisco
Put the date on your calendar today, forward this email to some friends.  And if you’re ready, you can RSVP today!
If you didn’t have time to read our last newsletter, it’s on our website here.

With deep bows to each of you for your support and caring, and for joining us on this path.

~ The Staff of HPW
Lee Klinger Lesser, Executive and Programs Director, Cofounder
Chris Fortin, Lead Facilitator and Cofounder
Dyan Ferguson, Development and Operations Manager, US Army Veteran

Study: Meditation & Yoga found beneficial in new study

Adam Burn, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, practices yoga techniques to help combat stress. A Stanford scholar has found that breathing-based meditation dramatically reduces PTSD in veterans. Photo: Stanford, L.A. Cicero

Who:  21 veterans were studied by researchers at Stanford University.

Method: The 21 participants met for three-hour sessions over seven days. Researchers measured eye-blink responses to loud noises, respiration rates and self-reported descriptions of participants’ PTSD symptoms. Assessments were taken at four intervals – before, during, one month later and one year after the treatment.

Why it’s important:  Because it’s proof of something that we’ve known all along. Studies can serve as a way to encourage the funding of yoga teachers and programs at VA hospitals.

Read over here:  Stanford Scholar Helps Veterans Recover From War Trauma

To find out how to do yoga in your own home, go to veteran-founded and run Bootstrap USA.

South Dakota: Pheasant Hunt for veterans with Wounded Warriors In Action

The wwiaf-logo1Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation is a veteran-founded and operated organization that offers hunting and fishing opportunities in the great outdoors. WWIA has many listings for sporting events throughout the country on their website, including the one we’ve highlighted. If you are a purple heart veteran, and would like to go to their application page.

The following is from their website.

South Dakota Pheasant Hunt — November 07 – November 10, 2014

Hunt pheasants behind Braque Francais French Pointers on opening day in South Dakota! Enjoy accommodations at the well-appointed Grand Ciel Lodge.

What do you get when you combine a great upland pheasant hunt in South Dakota with really good food and awesome accommodations?

A) sore feet
B) pants that don’t fit
C) a real Charlie Foxtrot
D) an unbelievably wonderful experience chasing a cunning bird and great memories that will last a lifetime

Find out more about WWIA and its mission by watching this short video.

OREGON: Smith Rock Climbing for Veterans (free!)

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A free, six day rock climbing course for veterans on 11/9/2014 – 11/14/2014.  No previous experience necessary.  Sign up on their site. Transportation to and from is not included.

From Northwest Outward Bound website:

This is a six-day rock climbing course at world-renowned Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Oregon. Veterans will receive individual instruction and test their skills against vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders. Whether you are new to rock climbing or already have experience this course will be an opportunity to learn further skills and practice in a positive and supportive environment.

The group will set up a basecamp in a campground near Smith Rock State Park among the multicolored cliffs and spires, in order to focus on building climbing skills and techniques, and to establish a comprehensive and safe climbing foundation. You will learn about basic climbing equipment, ropes, carabineers, harnesses, knots, belaying and rappelling techniques, and most importantly, how to move across the rock face efficiently and effectively using hand and foot holds.

Personal feedback from instructors helps you progress toward your climbing goals. Our staff to student ratio averages 1:3. You’ll not only build strong climbing skills and get a great taste of Smith Rock, but you’ll get all that Outward Bound and our incredible staff have to offer as well! Students who advance in the basic skills have the opportunity to do a multi-pitch climb or a spectacular Tyrolean Traverse put the newly gained skills to the test.

You do not need to have any previous experience. We will teach you the necessary skill sets for each activity.

UTAH: Cedar Mesa Military Expedition. Happening soon!

When:  Oct 3 – 9

Follow them on Facebook at Paradox Sports, Sierra Club Mission Outdoors.
Where: Meet in Salt Lake City, travel to Cedar Mesa. Travel to SLC is the responsiblity of the participant.
Who: Sierra Club Mission Outdoors, and Paradox Sports, leaders in veteran led and organized outdoor experiences
For more info: Go to the Sierra Club Mission Outdoors Website

From the Sierra Club Mission Outdoors website:

“Veterans and Service Members, join the Sierra Club Military Outdoors, the Bureau of Land Management, and Paradox Sports from OCT 3rd through the 9th in an epic cultural, spiritual, and adventurous expedition in one of the most enchanting wild places in our country. After a weekend of celebration and a traditional Navajo healing sweat lodge ceremony, our veterans will explore Grand Gulch and the other surrounding canyons of the Cedar Mesa area through a series of day and through hikes led by Sierra Club Veteran leaders and assisted by local rangers and experts who have a vast knowledge of how to live, explore, and enjoy these sacred natural and historical sites.

General Itinerary:
3 OCT: No later than noon arrive at SLC Airport and move to Cedar Mesa
4 OCTt: Trip Logistics, local historical and natural talk, celebration dinner
5 OCT: Traditional Navajo sweat lodge and welcome home ceremony
6 OCT – 8 OCT: Group 1 Day hikes from central camp, Group 2 Hike through of Grand Gulch
9 OCT: Re-consolidate and move to SLC

Travel to and from SLC is the responsibility of the participant. We will provide local lodging in SLC for those arriving on the 2nd or leaving on the 10th. All group gear and food will be provided, a light backpacking packing list will be provided upon acceptance.

If you are interested in applying for the trip, send an email with the subject line: ‘YOUR LAST NAME_FIRST NAME Cedar Mesa’ to military.outdoors@sierraclub.org that includes the following information:

  • Name
  • Branch of service, rank, when and where you served (or are serving)
  • Proof of service
  • Outdoor Experience (none is required) and other veteran / service member trips you’ve been on
  • Two sentences about why you want to go on the trip.
  • Where you will be coming from and if you need help getting to SLC
  • Any physical or mental concerns you might have about your participation on the trip (we will aim to make this trip 100% adaptable to your needs)

We will let everyone know about their participation no later than September 20th, 2014.”

Mindfulness Meditation Retreat for Veterans

HONORING THE PATH OF THE WARRIOR  (Supported by San Francisco Zen Center)


Supporting Our Veterans:
Mindfulness Meditation to Calm and Heal the Body and Mind


Spirit Rock is honored to offer a half-day of mindfulness meditation for veterans and their families. You will be introduced to mindfulness practice through sitting and walking meditation as well as time for small and large group discussion. This will be a time to connect with others and learn mindfulness meditation to help calm and heal the body and mind.

Lee and the Spirit Rock teachers will be joined by Fred Krawchuk, retired Colonel and Michael Ergo, MSW who works in the Veterans Administration. 

Sunday, June 15, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Spirit Rock’s Community Hall
Registration through Spirit Rock is required.  Click 
here for more info and to register.

This event is open to veterans, their families and significant others. Spirit Rock will provide childcare to those who need it.

This program will be offered on a “dana” (donation) basis. The teachers are offering the day as a gift to the Spirit Rock community. The regular half day fee of $40 – $75 is waived for this event. The practice of generosity, or dana, in all forms is considered a central pillar of Buddhadharma practice. Spirit Rock invites you to contribute what is appropriate for you.

Hellertown, PA: Veteran says “I’m a Marine and I’m not doing yoga”

Got you to click on the post, didn’t it? 14784300-mmmain

USMC Veteran Liz Thompson shared that statement in her story with The Express-Times, where she described her struggle the transition home after a 9-month deployment to Iraq in 2005. Liz eventually found her way to yoga after it was suggested to her by a friend and she has since become an instructor herself and teaches a class for Veterans at the American Legion Post 397 in Hellertown, PA.

Check out the rest of Liz’s story in The Express-Times!


A Big Thank You

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 4.08.47 AMTo everyone who gave to our fundraiser on Causes.Com to help send military kids to camp through the National Military Family Association.  We raised $500, for Operation Purple Camp, which sends military kids to summer camp for a week, for free. . Special thanks to my cohorts in crowdfunding, Deb Ings and Matt Murray.

RIght now, families can apply for NMFA’s Operation Purple Family Retreats. These are for the whole family.  From their website:

“Coming back together after a deployment can be difficult. Operation Purple Family Retreats provide military families with the opportunity to reconnect as a family. We are using our popular ‘camp’ approach and bringing families to beautiful outdoor locations in order to provide fun family oriented activities, new memory making, and the ability to spend quality time together. Specially adapted communication activities developed by FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress ™) ensure families return OPFR-Thumbnail-Jan-2013-copyhome stronger. Families are able to connect in a “purple” environment that brings families from all ranks and services including National Guard and Reserve components together as a community. We are climbing, hiking, canoeing, bonding, eating s’mores, and more!”

Click here to find out more about Operation Purple Family Retreats and apply!  

A Game Changer: Rivers of Recovery

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Rivers of Recovery offers fishing trips in communities across the country. Guided by veterans, or supporters, the fishing trips make a huge impact on the lives of everyone who participates. Regardless of physical or emotional challenges, Rivers of Recovery accommodates everyone.  A community builds as the hours, days, and weekends go by. Men and women talk about their lives, the find others who understand and profound changes take place. From there, the healing begins, the understanding that there is a tomorrow and they are not alone. Edgar Duffey, in the video below, calls it a game changer in the world of therapy. Movement, Breath, and Community.

“You see your boys in front of you getting engaged. All you could is sit there and watch while your boys get messed up. I have never been so utterly scared in my entire life ever.” -SGT Edgar Duffey, US Army Veteran, speaking for Rivers of Recovery