I think you’re all aware that I am a Navy Veteran.
Recently, I’ve discovered some of the outdoor organizations that take veterans out on hunting and fishing trips. I had no idea they were out there, mostly due to the misconception that they are only for disabled vets, combat vets or Purple Heart recipients.
As it turns out, there are a few organizations that recognize the sacrifice we all made, regardless of physical detriment.
In June 2021 I was invited to participate in a veteran’s fishing trip on Lake Ontario, hosted by House in the Woods, whose home base is in Maine. It was the first time in 2+ decades where I was made to feel like my 4-year sacrifice at the age of 17 meant something and was valued. The message and mission of the trip was to provide healing, and the experience opened my eyes to a lot of hurt, resentment, and anger I’d pushed down and locked away.
It also opened my eyes to events that welcomed all veterans, not just special categories.
Then I discovered Hometown Hero Outdoors, a great organization that is local. They have a lottery system that chooses who gets to participate in the hunts and fishing trips they provide.
I was chosen to participate in a duck hunt on the Mississippi River. The weekend was amazing and reminded me of the camaraderie I’d been missing.
Fast-forward to November of 2022, to an all female duck hunt in Michigan hosted by Ultimate Veterans Adventures, based out of Ohio.
It had been a very long time I’d spent any time with female veterans, since 1998 to be specific. The amount of fun and laughter and healing talks we shared should be criminal. It was truly a cathartic experience. But it also made us all realize that there was a need in the veteran community. A void where female vets could hunt and fish together in a safe space, without being talked down to, without being made to feel “less than” or devalued, without worrying about being assaulted or having to stay sober “just in case”.
I know organizations provide all female veteran trips, and I encourage you to seek those out as well, I will list them at a later date as I see them.
But I have a lot of resources at my disposal, including of course my incredibly valuable dedicated listeners. So here I am, just trying to do my part and provide a few female-only trips for my sisters.
Mission Statement: to encourage and empower female veterans to take advantage of the healing powers of the outdoors.
Veteran engagement platforms like Lady Vets Outdoors will continue to help replace the “boys only club” with a seamless, integrated experience of wellness and camaraderie while providing experiences in hunting and fishing. These activities have been proven to increase self-esteem, self-value, mental focus and overall health.
We have the power to use events like the All Female Veteran Turkey Hunt in May 2023, to improve mental health outcomes while simultaneously increasing outdoor participation, and enthusiastically cultivating the outdoor lifestyle.
This first event will create communications and real time ROI designed to motivate other military members to participate and explore the outdoors.