In September, Troopers of two battalions in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade were able to utilize a unique program by the Soul Survivor Outdoor company.
Soul Survivor Outdoor (SSO) began after retired Marine Lt. Col. Rick Wolf’s assignment as the officer in charge of the Marine Wounded Warrior Detachment at Twentynine Palms. To Wolf, it was clear that “soul repair” was needed as well.
The program was recommended through the Army Chaplain Corps, as Soul Survivor Outdoor expands beyond only serving Marines.
Chaplain Karen Moore, battalion chaplain for 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, who had arrived and stayed in the Rear Detachment while the unit was preparing to redeploy back to Fort Hood, saw an opportunity. Knowing that deployments can be rough, Moore organized for members of her battalion to participate and interact with SSO. She also helped assist sister battalion, 1st battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, become involved with the program as well.
Over a period of three days, 55 Troopers didn’t just horseback ride and take a day off. It is not a retreat, it is actual training. The program is designed for participation, with group discussions and testimonies led by members within Soul Survivor Outdoor.
The topics can vary, depending on the needs of the group- how damaging the perception of strength and masculinity can be; how a person can become too invested on the goal of tomorrow, and forget to enjoy today; anger management and what it means to find redemption or forgiveness.
The program removes military members from the work environment for a day, and engages them with people who have “been there before” for support. SSO is receiving a great amount of positive feedback for their method.
“Some of these people are burnt out,” Moore said. “SSO brings them out into nature to refresh the spirit, relieve them of their burdens. The program seeks to repair that balance of self- body, mind and soul.”
Moore, who also led a portion on stress management and identity, is very pleased with the company.