The beauty of Yellowstone National Park and Forest are spectacular in the summer, and as Sheep Dog Impact Assistance’s (SDIA) group of 43 veterans, first responders and family members discovered on the January 23-27 Yellowstone Outdoor Adventure, winter in this vast wilderness is just as stunning when riding a snowmobile.
This was the first Outdoor Adventure SDIA conducted in partnership with the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and Vet Centers across the nation. Through this partnership, the VA and Vet Centers identified and recommended to SDIA 27 veterans; these veterans joined 8 other veterans and first responders for a weekend that took them on a guided snowmobile tour of the National Park, snowmobiling time on their own in the National Forest, group dinners, free time, and most importantly, time to talk with fellow Sheep Dogs about their experiences, struggles and achievements. By giving them an opportunity to #GetOffTheCouch, the camaraderie and connection with peers that is so vital to having a positive attitude, perspective and renewed sense of purpose is restored.
In recent months, the VA acknowledged that gathering Veterans for outdoor adventures and other physical activities helps get them out of their comfort zones and drastically improves their overall well-being. Throughout the last eight years, SDIA has seen how true this is at every one of our Outdoor Adventures. Over and over again our participants say that going on these trips and being with fellow Sheep Dogs renews feelings of camaraderie, reminds them that they are not alone in their struggles, and helps them reconnect and reengage in LIVING life again.
January’s Yellowstone trip was the first in our partnership with the VA/Vet Centers, but not the last. In late February we will return Montana for Yellowstone 2.0, and this spring features a Buffalo River Adventure in Arkansas. In September, our Tunnel to Towers NYC Adventure will include participating in the Tunnel to Towers 5K and tours of the 9/11 memorials in New York City. These incredible Outdoor Adventures will be comprised of sponsored Veterans from the VA/Vet Centers as well as the sponsored Sheep Dogs SDIA brings along.
In addition to these large-scale events, SDIA and its Teams and Chapters host many events and activities throughout the year. If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming Outdoor Adventures, visit our website (www.SheepDogIA.org), Facebook page (@SheepDogIA), Instagram (@SheepDogIA), email us at Info@SheepDogIA.org or call our office at 417-812-6035. We’d love for you to join us!