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Andy with Veteran’s Outward Bound Sea Kayaking Course, Outer Banks North Carolina, May 14 -20, 2013

May 9, 2013

Most of us have heard of the Outdoor Leadership Company called Outward Bound. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the internationally known company develops leadership by putting the participants in stressful, anxiety  situations, allowing for sometimes humiliating mistakes and them helping you develop the skills to overcome similar challenges. Outward Bound has an incredible reputation launching its graduates into success throughout the world. Our incredible local environmental leader Lou Parrott told us the story of being on a canoe course in the Everglades, and his team had to build a platform to sleep on with wooden planks. Fighting through bugs and dwindling twilight, it took them many attempts and much aggravation to accomplish the goal. When they finally slept, they were worn out and not too pleased with each other. However it is in these moments that we learn so much about ourselves. We learn to manage ourselves and there is great opportunity to learn and be supportive, compassionate to one  another. In fact quoting from the Outward Bound Mission Statement….

“The mission of North Carolina Outward Bound is to inspire people to discover and develop their potential to care

for themselves, others and the world around them through challenging experiences in unfamiliar settings.”

Veterans Sea Kayaking Trip, Outer Banks, North Carolina, courtesy North Carolina Outward Bound School

Veterans Sea Kayaking Trip, Outer Banks, North Carolina, courtesy North Carolina Outward Bound School

I learned of these trips through a father of one of my daughter Lenora’s girl scout buddies. He went on a winter dog sledding trip in Minnesota and was thoroughly impressed. I was sold. I still was reticent because sometimes I have this thing where I don’t feel like I deserve a great thing to happen in my life. Like all of my outdoor pursuits, I was out of my skin excited to find that I was eligible despite not being a combat Vet. I found that the trip is all paid for, and that I am also eligible for the other two Vet trips in the North Carolina Outward Bound jurisdiction.

One of my best friends Greg mentioned to me that I should find a way to integrate my Mental Health interest and passion for the outdoors.  Outward Bound and National Outdoor Leadership School  courses have been a part of that interest, yet it seemed that I have never quite put that together.  In fact, I visited the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 1994, and was signed up for a 30 NOLS Course in 2003. My developing private practice and having a family have taken priority, but I am filled with gratitude, for the incredible wild spaces I have visited and the people who I have shared them with. Today my wife Susan an I were reminiscing about our hike on a section of Continental Divide Scenic Trail, me getting furious with her about not hiking fast enough in a electrical storm on an exposed ridge. We found a gorgeous campsite to ourselves in a glacial cirque, and later I washed her hair by a campfire!

Vets get some instruction on marine navigation on the sea kayaking course.....Courtesy of North Carolina Outward Bound School

Vets get some instruction on marine navigation on the sea kayaking course…..Courtesy of North Carolina Outward Bound School

So, as a Sierra Outings Leader, I consistently feel inspired by other outings leaders and a have deep bond in appreciating those magnificent outdoor places in our great country. I think that as Sierra Outings Leaders we can learn so much from folks that offer outdoor trips as a profession. I have also felt that as a Vet and a Mental Health Counselor that I may be able to assist in my “Band of Brothers,” perhaps men returning from the conflicts in the Middle East. Maybe they will inspire me to continue my passionate work with outdoor conservation.  Outward Bound like Sierra also preaches deep care about the environment, so I feel that I can be an asset for that message on this trip. I am sure that somewhere somehow Ancient Islands Sierra Outings will be involved in sea kayaking, so I will learn skills critical to that endeavor.

Andy

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2013 8:13 pm

    What an inspiring article, Andy. You have blended 3 important parts of your life: veteran, mental health counselor, outdoor leader, and created an experience to always remember.

    • abquinn23 permalink
      June 14, 2013 10:55 am

      Gail….what a generous thing to say, and I honored that we have each other as Sierra Leaders

  2. May 24, 2013 8:10 pm

    What an inspiring article, Andy. You have blended various facets of your life experience: veteran, mental health counselor, outdoor leader! Good work!

Trackbacks

  1. An Incredible Source of Healing: Andy with Veteran’s Outward Bound Sea Kayaking Course, Outer Banks North Carolina, May 14 -20, 2013, Wrap Up | Ancient Islands Sierra Club Outings

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