Another one of my adventures with Wounded Warrior Project was a trip to the US National Whitewater Center as part of a Project Odyssey retreat. You can read about Day One HERE. Project Odyssey retreats provide an opportunity for veterans to heal “through outdoor, rehabilitative retreats that encourage a connection with nature, peers, Project Odyssey staff, and trained counselors.” The retreats are all male, all female, or couples. There are many different activities, it depends on the location, but mine included whitewater rafting. Project Odyssey experiences are private and personal, so I won’t go into detail about that, but I will share the outdoor experience.
I had never been whitewater rafting before, so I cannot begin to express how incredibly grateful I was to have been extended this opportunity. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take my camera with me to capture much of what we did, but trust me, it was fun. Before the rafting part of our adventure began, our group decided to take a quick trip down the zip-line.
To be honest, the worst part of the zip-line is the 100-foot climb to the top. My fears quickly passed and soon I was zooming along to the landing area. The other women and I cheered each other on until everyone made the journey across. Afterward, we trekked through a rope course. One of our participants was afraid of heights, so it was heartwarming to see her finish the course.
Our rafting guide was a young man, so I was a little apprehensive, but he expertly guided us through the rapids. I hadn’t realized how much teamwork was required until we were maneuvering to different areas of the raft to prevent it from tipping over. I never felt unsafe, but I quickly became aware of the hazards if safety measures are not adhered to. No one on our raft fell out, but two from the other team did. Luckily, no one was hurt.
I left Project Odyssey feeling enlightened, inspired, and recharged. Most importantly, I connected with other women who shared my concerns and experiences. We still touch base to check in on each other. I encourage other veterans to sign up, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.