PENNSYLVANIA - Canyon Heroes will provide 18 honorably discharged veterans the chance to take a week-long camping and rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon after receiving two grants from Grand Canyon Fund (GCF) and Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV) Charitable Services Trust.
Canyon Heroes provides military veterans the opportunity to participate in an adventure therapy program. Located in Pennsylvania, the organization received a $10,000 grant from the GCF - a non-profit charitable, grant-making program established and managed by the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association - and a $5,000 grant from the DAV.
Established by a group of Grand Canyon National Park licensed river outfitters, GCF is supported by about 90 percent professionally outfitted river trip passengers donating an average of $1 per day from their river trip to the Grand Canyon Fund.
In turn, GCF supports organizations like Canyon Heroes to provide access to backcountry outdoor experiences for those who are facing a variety of challenges.
Additionally, DAV has earned the enviable reputation of being good stewards of donor funds: in 2013, only 3 percent of their expenditures were used for fundraising and administration, with the remaining 97 percent dedicated to program services for America's disabled heroes.
The $5,000 DAV grant will also help support the Canyon Heroes mission by providing the trip for the veterans.
The trip is made in order to help veterans psychologically recover from their service experiences.
The mission statement on Canyon Heroes website states 'It is the purpose of "Canyon Heroes" to provide a unique and healing experience for a wounded/disabled U.S. military veteran.
Additionally, the website said the organization serves veterans by providing an adventure therapy experience - hiking and rafting the Colorado River in order to help heal the psychological wounds of war. Trip participants are supported on their journeys by professional counselors with experience in the military community.
The outdoor adventure trips are designed to provide a stimulating outdoor experience for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological conditions.
Providing a stimulating outdoor experience as a form of treatment for these conditions have become a more common alternative to clinical therapy. The volunteer clinical staff is comprised of veterans as well.
Canyon Heroes helps place veterans in a challenging setting surrounded by great natural beauty. In this setting, veterans can work together and individually to overcome obstacles.
"It reaffirmed that the person I used to be is still there," 2014 trip participant wrote about his experience. "I had given up a lot of things I used to enjoy, and maybe I can use this as a spring board to getting back out and enjoying life again."
Applications for the 2015 week long camping and rafting trip on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon are now being accepted. The 2015 trip is offered at no cost to veterans except for nominal trip insurance and is scheduled from July 29 to Aug. 5.
Honorably discharged military veterans with diagnosed psychological challenges resulting from their service are invited to learn about the program at canyonheroes.org. or on their Facebook page.
Canyon Heroes is an IRS recognized 501c3 and donations are tax deductible.