Overview It is the mission, duty, and purpose of Veterans Adventure Group to restore teamwork and purpose, provide support, guidance, and a strong network by building, training, and equipping teams of Veterans to thrive in extreme environments. Our motto of "Build, Train, Equip, Execute" provides the framework in how we do this. We build the teams, train the team through months of skill based and physical training, provide the required equipment to safely and successfully complete the mission, then facilitate the execution of the desired mission. All the required equipment is then donated to the Veterans so they can continually operate as a local team after completion of their mission through Veterans Adventure Group.
Mission Selection We select our "missions" as a way to unite our teams through a very challenging goal, requiring them to work and train together to complete the mission. We have found that many of the "extreme" sports provide the best atmosphere for doing this. Some examples of missions that would be supported by Veterans Adventure Group would be mountain climbing, rock and ice climbing, SCUBA diving, skydiving and B.A.S.E. jumping, kayaking, surfing, and mountain biking to name a few. These activities challenge the team to great lengths, creating a bond similar to that we experienced in the military. There are numerous studies showing the positive effects of these extreme sports of former military and professional athletes. Veterans Adventure Group builds on this as our method to restore teamwork and purpose in our nations Veterans.
Team Selection Veterans Adventure Group revolves around creating effective teams. We select members for our teams based off their ability to meet together regularly. Typically we look to have everyone in each team to reside within a 50 mile radius to help facilitate this. For us to be successful in our mission, the team should meet and train regularly together for their own missions following their work with Veterans Adventure Group. To be eligible for our teams, individuals must have an honorable discharge from the Armed Services. If they meet this qualification they then must fill out a questionnaire that has point system, which helps us choose if they would be good fit for the team. They must have clearance from a physician or mental health professional if they are seeking medical attention or are on any medications which could affect with the teams mission. Lastly, they will be interviewed by the committee responsible for recruiting the team for that mission. Upon completion, the board will meet to vote for final selection of the team. Typically teams will be 3 to 4 people. We find this number is large en ough to create diversity, yet small enough to allow the team to operate with ease of planning and equipment requirements. Our goal is to create diverse and effective teams that can safely and successfully complete the missions.
Training Veterans Adventure Group prepares these teams for missions that will require often will require advanced training. Training will be conducted by an expert in thefield, and will go at a pace consistent with ensuring all members of the team are successful. A typical training period will be about 1-6 months depending on the selected mission and the pace of the team. Teams are required to meet once per week, although they are highly encouraged to get together and train for these missions together outside of Veterans Adventure Group sponsored training. Training may consist of small trips that would be advantageous for team success of the mission. An example of this could include climbing a smaller more accessible mountain, while training for a much more challenging mountain. The training is designed to challenge the team, thus strengthening the bond within the team. To expand our reach to other Veterans, as well as build awareness, most of our training is open to the public. We frequently invite other Veterans, friends, family, and the local community to participate in our training. No donations of any sort will be given to supporters, but we arehappy to involve them as applicable to build awareness within the community.
Equipment Selection Integral to the success of the Veteran teams, Veterans Adventure Group provides the required equipment for the team to safely and successfully complete their mission. This equipment is donated to the Veterans and is not the property of Veterans Adventure Group. This will allow for the team to continue operations independently after completing their mission through Veterans Adventure Group. All equipment is selected based off the suggestions of experts in that field. In particular circumstances we may elect to use some equipment for fundraising purposes. For example, giving an ice pick used to summit a mountain to the highest donor, or a similar benefit. In this case, the equipment will be replaced so the Veteran team has all the required gear to continue operations independently from Veterans Adventure Group.
Why we do what we do:
The public may not be aware of the unique challenges that separating from military service and returning to civilian life can present. Veterans may find they face several of these difficulties:
Relating to people who do not know or understand what military personnel have experienced.
Reconnecting with family and re-establishing a role in the family - Families may have created new routines during absences and both the family and the Veteran will have to adjust to changes.
Joining or creating a community - When moving to a new base or post, the military helps military personnel and families adjust. This structure is often not automatically in place when someone separates from the military. The Veteran and their family may have to find new ways to join or create a social community.
Preparing to enter the work force - A Veteran may have never looked for, applied for, or interviewed for a civilian job, especially if he or she had a career in the military. These are new skills he or she will have to learn and master. In applying for a job, a Veteran will have to determine how to translate his or her military skills and duties into civilian terms and create a resume. A Veteran may have never created a resume. Instead of a resume the military uses a Field Service Record to detail qualifications, training, and experience.
Returning to a job - If deployed with the National Guard or Reserve, a service member will have to adjust to resuming their previous job or another similar job at the same company. For some recently returning Service Members, they may find themselves behind a desk in as little as 3 days after leaving a combat zone. Returning to the job may include a period of catching up, learning new skills, or adjusting to a new position. It will also include adjusting to social changes that may have occurred in the workplace. During the transition back to work, some Veterans also experience worry and fear about possible job loss.
Creating structure - The military provides structure and has a clear chain of command. This does not naturally exist outside the military. A Veteran will have to create his or her own structure or adjust to living in an environment with more ambiguity.
Adjusting to providing basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, housing) - In the military, these things are not only provided, but there is often little choice (e.g., you eat at determined times in a certain place, duty station determines your dress). Given the lack of choices while in the military, the vast array of choices in the civilian world can sometimes be overwhelming.
Adjusting to a different pace of life and work - In the military, personnel do not leave until the mission is complete. In a private sector business, an employee might be expected to stop and go home at 5pm, whether the “mission” is complete or not. This may not be apparent to all Veterans. Given the direct nature of communication in military settings, there may be subtle nuances in conversations and workplace lingo that are unfamiliar to Veterans.
Individualistic culture versus a culture of service and teamwork - For example, civilian workplaces may be competitive environments, as opposed to the collaborative camaraderie of the military. Putting one’s own needs first, as opposed to the needs of friends, fellow Veterans, or family, may be difficult.
Establishing services - A Veteran may have to learn how to get a doctor, dentist, life insurance, etc. These services were previously provided by the military. A Veteran may also need to navigate the paperwork and process of obtaining benefits and services from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Veterans Adventure Group is committed to helping Veterans work through these difficulties by providing a strong foundation of support forged in the fires of sweat, tears, hard work, and controlled extreme environments!
We'll help you find your way.
Our goal is to give veterans a way to get back the support network and camaraderie they had in the service, but many lack in the civilian world. Transition out of the military can be an awkward experience for even the most well prepared service members. By teaming up with other veterans in their local area and working to achieve a common goal, transition can be a lot easier.
There’s nothing quite like the experience of working with a team toward a common goal. We use the same model we learned in the military:
1. Build the team
2. Equip the team
3. Train as a team
4. Execute the mission.
Our "missions" cover the full range of extreme sports, including climbing Mt. Rainier, and earning your A license for skydiving. Once the initial goal is achieved, participants keep the equipment, and their team can continue training together, setting new goals and achieving them independently.
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