“On the battlefield the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.” – D. Lipinski
Over the 14 plus years that HOW has been in service, we have had the honor of connecting with thousands of men and women to provide repeated kayak fishing experiences that create opportunities for rejuvenation and camaraderie. We are proud to be one of many Veteran Service Organizations that offer outdoors experiences to veterans and first responders as a means of healing and connection for these men, women and their families.
Every member of our chapter volunteer base is making a positive impact on the lives of each participant, whether they know it or not, by helping bring these events to fruition. Our dedicated volunteers are the backbone of HOW. They spend time planning and implementing events, recruiting volunteer team members, organizing equipment, promoting the chapter and building a solid HOW community.
A Life-Changing Commitment
“And the truth is that all veterans pay with their lives. Some pay all at once, while others pay over a lifetime.” – Jm Storm
Every year, thousands of men and women make the decision to dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our country and our communities. They enlist in our military to protect our freedoms and become the members of our law enforcement and first responder community who serve us on the frontlines of emergencies and national events. While they are serving us, these brave men and women are enduring trauma and stress on a consistent basis which can lead to mental health issues, anxiety, hypervigilance, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries that impact overall quality of life.
Studies show that veterans comprised over 13% of suicides in 2019. Similarly, first responders are also proven more likely to die of suicide than in the line of duty. These statistics are evidence that there is a need for more opportunities for veterans and first responders to experience healing.
PADDLE. FISH. HEAL.
“Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude, and your mood.”- Men’s Health Magazine
Kayaking and fishing are types of therapeutic recreation that promote feelings of relaxation, peace and overall well-being. Symmetric and repetitive activities like kayaking engage both sides of the brain allowing them to work together to process traumatic memories leading to healing. It’s a low-impact exercise that releases endorphins, the “happy” chemicals of the brain that lead to relaxation and increased sense of well-being. Fishing also requires focus which takes your mind off internal conflict and distracts you from negative thoughts or emotions.
The combination of fresh air and recreational therapy are already a recipe for improving mental health but including the aspect of camaraderie takes healing to a new level.
HOW is a community made up of veterans, first responders and their families who have a shared understanding of what it’s like to be in the field. These shared experiences are the foundation for a community of support and caring like no other.
Our organization also understands that families also make great sacrifices. Their family member in service gives so much time and experiences so much trauma and the impacts are felt throughout the entire family unit. By offering every member the opportunity to participate in HOW events, families can have fun, restore or create new bonds, and create new memories together.
Start A HOW Chapter in Your Community
“The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
Starting a HOW Chapter doesn’t just impact the participants who join in on events, it also positively impacts each volunteer and your entire community at large. When we offer healing to our veterans who have given so much, to our first responders who serve us daily, and to their families we are creating a healthier world for everyone.
If you would like to include HOW in bringing healing to your community via kayaking and fishing events for veterans, first responders and their families, we are honored to be a part of your journey and have a dedicated team to help you every step of the way. To start a HOW Chapter in your community, follow these steps:
1. Check your area to see if there are any local chapters.
2. HOW Chapters are comprised of: a leadership team, a group of volunteers, a group of participants, and the equipment they will use
3. In order to start a local chapter, you must have a minimum of 4 members on your leadership team: Chapter Coordinator, Assistant Coordinator, Secretary, Treasurer
Contact us to schedule a one-on-one informational session to learn more about the tools and resources we provide to help you get your chapter up and running. Click here to schedule a session. You will find it positively impacts the lives of our heroes as well as your own.