The sea is a powerful and mysterious entity, with the ability to both heal and challenge us. For veterans and first responders living with post-traumatic stress, it can offer a unique form of therapy known as adventure therapy. Skeleton Crew Adventures, a nonprofit dedicated to providing veterans and first responders with opportunities to heal and grow through the sea, recently took the Terra Arma team on a sailing trip in Galveston, Texas to better understand the impact of adventure therapy on those living with PTSD.
"The Skeleton Crew Sailing program is an incredible example of why we do the work we do with the Ascend Together Initiative at Terra Arma. This program provides adventure therapy for veterans and first responders that not only gives them a chance to be with other like minded individuals, but it helps its participants overcome their self-limiting beliefs." - David Reid
The team sailed on a traditional sailing vessel, surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. The trip was a unique and challenging adventure, providing an opportunity for healing and growth. We learned about seamanship, navigation, hoisting the sails, and teamwork, all while surrounded by the captivating views of the Gulf of Mexico. The weather conditions were variable, with calm seas and sunny skies giving way to wind, rain, and choppy waters, but the team persevered and learned to work together to overcome any obstacle that arose.
“Engaging with the world when the risk of harm is higher than normal, presents a unique opportunity to leave stagnation for aspiration. When you find something that you are willing to die for you gain perspective on exactly what kind of internal fortitude you have. The work to put in here comes when you recognize your own faults or vulnerabilities and apply this newfound perspective to strengthen your weaknesses.” - Adam Green
The impact of adventure therapy on veterans and first responders who are living with PTSD is well documented. These trips provide opportunities for participants to work through their experiences and begin to heal from PTSD in a supportive and challenging environment. The team learned to support each other and work together to overcome obstacles. This experience will stay with us and continue to provide, if not new lessons, at the very least accountability to be present in everything we do. Which is exactly the point of adventure therapy; giving tools to our nation's heroes that they may lead their own lives rather than reacting to it. Thus bettering themselves, our communities, and this great nation that we set out to protect in the first place.
"This program was an incredible reminder of what it's like to be with fellow servicemembers. Every day stresses and problems melt away on the deck. You are constantly having to pay attention to what is happening in the current moment, there is no room for outside thoughts. It's a powerful representation of how having a proper outlet can help you overcome any obstacle." - David Reid
Skeleton Crew Adventures is making a real difference in the lives of veterans and first responders who are living with PTSD. Their recent trip in Galveston, Texas with the Terra Arma team was a powerful demonstration of the impact that adventure therapy can have on individuals who are living with PTSD. The sea may be a challenging place, but for veterans and first responders, it can also offer a path to healing and growth. If you're interested in supporting organizations like Skeleton Crew Adventures that are dedicated to helping veterans and first responders heal from PTSD, consider making a donation or volunteering your time.
Interestingly, instead of this experience completely isolating me and causing me to distrust everyone, it’s incentivized me to be more open and more vulnerable to other people. It’s in trying to avoid pain – in constantly trying to please others, or protect yourself – that pain will find and break us apart. I choose to open myself to the judgment of others because their reactions will tell me if there is a place in my life for them or not.
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