Dog sledding in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Sailing. Rockclimbing and backpacking in the wilderness. All in some of our country’s most breathtaking locations, for free.
Where do I sign up, you say?
These special adventures are reserved exclusively — and deservingly — for those who have unselfishly served us.
First created to serve Vietnam vets, Outward Bound is a unique non-profit out of Asheville, North Carolina, that now offers wilderness expeditions for the wild at heart of all ages, programs for troubled teens, and of course, programs for veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These excursions are designed to help our service members readjust to civilian life: restoring their confidence and drawing on “the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.”
It’s a brilliant mission, and these words from Henry David Thoreau capture it perfectly: “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
Funded primarily by private donations, Outward Bound’s Veterans Program recently found a new friend and financier: Holiday Retirement.
In March, the Oregon-based senior living provider issued a press release detailing the generous $1.2 million dollar donation they awarded Outward Bound, a boost which afforded 600 veterans the opportunity to embark on an adventure (flight, food, lodging, supplies and instructors included) without paying a penny.
Holiday Retirement’s top execs didn’t do this on their own though. The $1.2 million was raised in a three-month period, during which the provider offered to match every dollar donated by Holiday residents. As an estimated 12,000 war veterans and their spouses call Holiday Retirement communities home, this was not a stretch.
Outward Bound’s National Chair, Lee Skold, was especially grateful to the Holiday Retirement family: “Thanks to these donations, hundreds of young men and women will have the unique chance to experience the wilderness and beauty of the country they fought to protect,” he said in the press release. The partnership was truly a win-win, giving veteran residents (and even non-veterans) a chance to thank the brave men and women who are guarding the freedom they enjoy today, freedom that many of them also sought to protect years before.
Talk about giving back and paying it forward all at once. A beautiful thing, isn’t it?
Read about other ways seniors in retirement communities are giving back here at the blog.