Throughout the almost 15 years of Heroes on the Water, we’ve been honored to serve over 56 thousand veterans and first responders by creating opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation with a community of people who have similar experiences. Our volunteer-led events help increase overall wellness, build relationships and improve self-reliance all while having a great time in nature.
In 2021, HOW Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Laura Lindsey, realized there was a demand for information about the program from media and other organizations. Laura says, “We needed to do a different level of outreach. We have a group of volunteers who have been with HOW for years, they’re really passionate about the work we do and our message. They’re trained and able to speak on HOW’s behalf and to tell our story.”
The Dream Team
Like any other business, when it comes to nonprofits, maintaining community engagement and raising awareness is integral to the success of an organization. Developing a brand and clearly communicating your nonprofit’s mission is important for getting participants, the public, and potential sponsors involved. The HOW ambassador team is ready and available for blog interviews, speaking events and virtual events. There is also an ambassador chapter who is responsible for kayaking demonstrations.
“We have an ambassador chapter that is focused on showcasing our kayak fishing experiences for those outside our participant community,” Laura says. “The chapter is based in the DFW area, and is available for corporate events, supporting veteran resource groups inside companies, and outreach to wellness program administrators who work with municipalities.”
The ambassador team is trained to provide a more formal level of outreach and support to HOW. The HOW Ambassadors can travel to speaking engagements to represent the organization in a more coordinated way. For instance, Officer Mike Libertini, HOW Western Connecticut Chapter’s Chapter Coordinator, represented us on the show Sportsman’s Adventures, with Captain Rick Murphy. As an Ambassador, Mike was able to answer questions about HOW and relay detailed information about his story so that viewers automatically get a clear understanding of our mission and who we are as an organization.
“Working with younger officers to give them mindfulness tools is an important part of what I do daily,” says Mike. “Having the opportunity to work with HOW to support that mindfulness, while also helping the community at large understand the power of outdoors as a therapy is something I for which I have great passion. I’m always happy to talk about the meditative qualities of kayak fishing so that others understand the importance of the HOW mission.”
Passion Drives the Mission
Everyone that volunteers and participates with HOW is passionate about the hope and peace that we create through our events, so what truly separates our Ambassador team from everyone else? They are a group of long-term volunteers and participants who have dedicated themselves to an extensive training process.
HOW Ambassadors are comfortable with public speaking and have no problem getting in front of the camera to share our story and our mission because they’ve been with us for years. They are available for podcasts, conferences, television shows, speaking engagements, media requests, blogs and news articles.
There are several ambassadors around the United States, including Connecticut, Central California, Florida, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. These fine folks are quite simply so passionate about their own experience and outcome they wish to help others understand the importance of the HOW mission.
“We now have volunteers who can show up to your organization and provide an in-depth, well thought out presentation from the perspective of someone with experience,” says Laura. “Those opportunities are important in that it provides first-hand understanding of how we support our heroes in a unique way.”
The Ambassadors are made up of a variety of people, including veterans, first responders and civilians.
“As a civilian, I feel it is my civic duty to give back to our heroes who give so much for us,” says Zach Clift, Central California chapter coordinator. “I am blessed to be able to do a lot of kayak fishing, and understanding how much it relaxes me, I wanted to share that with our heroes. To be able to speak on behalf of Heroes on the Water is just one more way I can support our amazing community.”
Making your Mark
If you would like to have a HOW Ambassador join you at an upcoming event, to request an interview, or to have the Ambassador Chapter work with your organization in the DFW area, simply email Ambassador@heroesonthewater.org.
For other ways to get involved with the HOW Mission, please consider a donation. There are other ways to participate, including:
We are always looking for volunteers to assist with our programs. Click here to see a list of skills that are useful to our organization. If you have a skill that you think could be useful, but that you don’t see on the list, please contact us.
STARTING A CHAPTER
There are veterans in every single community across the country. If you would like to start a chapter in your community, click here to learn how you can contact us so that our team can guide you through the process.
MAKING IN-KIND DONATIONS
HOW relies on the generosity of sponsors and donors to fund our excursions which are free of charge for veterans, first responders and their families. You can click here to make a donation.
Even if none of these options are feasible for you, there are even more simple and free ways that you can give back to the veterans and first responders we serve.
“Everyone who participates in HOW in any capacity can help raise awareness of our organization by simply following, liking, sharing and commenting on our posts on social media. It’s a very basic action that only takes a few seconds,” says Laura, “but as a nonprofit that relies on participation and donations, it can really help us reach a broader audience and help more people.”