Participants work together as they learn to read tide charts and maps; explore fragile ecosystems; cook and set up camp on white sandy beaches under the stars; and paddle to new areas each day within the Ten Thousand Islands. In addition to learning new skills in canoe travel and backcountry living, participants also have the opportunity to take a break from busy lives; to challenge themselves in new ways; to develop skills that will assist them in re-adjusting to life at home; and to discuss shared obstacles. Most important of all, participants enjoy a unique and inspiring ocean adventure surrounded by fellow veterans in the beautiful country in which they served.
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Outward Bound Veterans expeditions build on camaraderie and the challenge of the natural world as a pathway to healing. These expeditions encourage participants to connect with existing strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, mission-driven environment. As they harness the power of wartime experiences like carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside, these courses help build the self-confidence and sense of purpose veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
During this course participants can expect to spend a good deal of time each day in canoes traveling from campsite to campsite. These canoes are tandem, which are perfect for fostering collaboration and communication skills between crewmates. Depending on the weather, the level of difficulty varies day to day. Crews learn: marine expedition risk-assessment and management, marine route planning and navigation, paddle strokes, canoe-based rescues, equipment use, and how to work with a paddling partner.
Participants will learn to:
Everglades National Park, FL
This course takes place off the west coast of southern Florida in Everglades National Park and Ten Thousand Islands national Wildlife Refuge. As the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the United States and third-largest national park in the lower 48 states, The Everglades provide a variety of precious wildlife habitat. The aquatic preserve includes more than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, and 40 species of mammals within its confines. Everglades National Park is one of only three locations in the world to appear on the following lists: an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of an International Importance and World Heritage Site.
This course area is in a subtropical region, with a 12-month growing season. The Florida peninsula is believed to be the last part of the continental United States to rise from the ocean, making it the youngest region geologically. The Everglades are mild and pleasant from December through April, with low humidity and clear skies. Temperatures reach average highs of 88 degrees and lows of 54 degrees. Strong cold fronts may occasionally create near freezing conditions, but such events are rare in this subtropical climate.