Injured Service Members Ski through Serene Scenery at Snoqualmie Pass
SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash., March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Taking in the sweeping scenery of the Summit Nordic Center, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni put their Nordic skiing abilities to the test. Outdoors for All© joined WWP in hosting the Physical Health and Wellness (PH&W) program activity to give wounded veterans and their families a full day of learning the fundamentals of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Sunny weather and 50-degree temperatures made for a fun and relaxing event.
"I was surprised at the level of instruction made available to us," said Army veteran and WWP Alumnus Jesus Carbajal. "The volunteers offered a lot of positive one-on-one feedback and really made sure we knew what we were doing. They divided the day into two parts, starting with training sessions and then letting us head out on the trail. I definitely wouldn't have been able to succeed without that support and training."
Each year more than 2,400 individuals exercise their abilities thanks to the training and support of more than 700 volunteers with Outdoors for All. On site, instructors taught the Nordic skiing clinic, where participants received both individual and group instruction. After practicing some drills and enjoying lunch in the yurt, the group ventured out onto the John Wayne-Iron Horse Trail to ski and take in the scenery. At 253 miles long, the trail is the longest railroad reclamation project in the nation and stretches from Issaquah to Ellensburg. Stunning views of Lake Keechelus rewarded the group for the effort put forth throughout the day.
"It was a long ski but it was definitely worth it. The scenery was pristine and looked like something from a postcard," said Jesus. "I was glad to get out for the day and spend some time in nature. It was a great way to clear my head and relax."
Through WWP's PH&W programs, wounded veterans can reduce stress and depression while being empowered to live an overall healthy lifestyle by participating in fun, active, and educational activities. PH&W events are designed to show injured service members that regardless of their physical injuries, they can maintain an active way of life. From myofascial release and yoga instruction, training plans for running, and healthy cooking classes, the WWP PH&W program offers injured veterans a chance to discover healthier lifestyles in a variety of ways. Along with the health benefits associated with PH&W services, Alumni have the chance to bond with other wounded veterans and family support members.
"Since almost everyone was brand new to Nordic skiing, we all encouraged one another," Jesus explained. "A few people decided to strike out and do some snowshoeing, so there was something for everyone. The Wounded Warrior Project staff made sure everyone was having a good time. I had an amazing day and can't wait to do it again. I'm definitely going to look into getting Nordic skis so I can strike out on my own and do this more often!"
As of February 2016, more than 100,000 wounded veterans, caregivers, and family members receive access to WWP programs and services, like Project Odyssey®, which helps injured service members and veterans design their own path from surviving to thriving. With its name derived from Homer's epic poem about overcoming adversity and finding the way home, Project Odyssey helps wounded veterans overcome combat stress through outdoor, rehabilitative retreats that encourage a connection with nature, their peers, WWP staff, and licensed mental health providers. Through outdoor, recreational activities, WWP Alumni discover their inner strength and find the courage to continue their journey to recovery. The experiences gained from Project Odyssey help injured veterans work through challenges related to combat stress and improve mental attitudes and outlook. Activities include horseback riding, canoeing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, a high ropes course, fishing, skeet shooting, sled hockey, and skiing at retreats held in various locations across the country. In February 2016, 122 wounded veterans embarked on a Project Odyssey® event.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The WWP purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
About Outdoors for All
The Outdoors for All Foundation transforms lives through outdoor recreation. Founded in 1979 in the Pacific Northwest, Outdoors for All is a national leader in delivering adaptive and therapeutic recreation for children and adults with disabilities. Each year more than 2,400 individuals exercise their abilities thanks to the training and support of more than 700 volunteers. Outdoors for All enriches the lives of individuals with disabilities and families and helps them to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Outdoors for All's programs includes snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country and downhill skiing, cycling, hiking, river rafting, kayaking, day camps, rock-climbing, camping and custom events. To learn more, visit outdoorsforall.org.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project