As folks here in the city of Philadelphia began to plan their Independence Day festivities (it’s a big deal around here ya know), we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the upcoming 4th than with the graduation of our two Veteran’s Expeditions. After 6 days of backpacking and advanced navigation on the Appalachian trail in Michaux State Forrest, the crews gathered at the Mural Arts Program/Warrior Writers Veteran’s Mural in West Philadelphia to bring their expedition to a closing with their pin ceremony.
The Veterans shared their unique and intimate experiences.
The first crew: an intact squad, consisting of Recon Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman from the 1st Force Recon Battalion Camp Pendleton, CA, shared the importance of staying in touch with people who have been through and shared the same experiences. The second crew: a mix of enlisted personnel ranging in rank from the Airforce, Navy and Army were able to connect and relate on a deeper level without having known each other.
There is a special bond that happens on all Outward Bound courses, but these Veterans are given the opportunity on course to form an even deeper connection unlike any other crew. Matt Benko, and Outward Bound Alumni Veteran shared his thoughts.
” Words alone cannot describe my experience. It is amazing what healing elements true nature offers directly and indirectly. I discovered this during my experience. Getting out in nature and challenging myself to be honest from within is now a core part of my life. My Outward Bound Experience inspired me to acknowledge, accept and process whatever challenges come my way, along with making peace with the past.” He now stands by this quote, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters to what lies within us.”
During this tear-jerking Veteran’s graduation at the Philadelphia Outward Bound base, Matt presented an American flag that he flew while over seas in honor and respect to Outward Bound.
We are extremely honored to be able to serve our Veterans from all over the country. If you or someone you know is a Veteran and could benefit from these Outward Bound courses, CLICK HERE or call 215-232-9130 to speak to someone about our programs.