Episode 188 Matt Dubois & Kurt Webber Camp Resilience

This transcript is from episode 188 with guests Matt Dubois and Kurt Webber.

Scott DeLuzio    00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty guard, reserve, or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guests, I have two of them today are Matt Dubois and Kurt Webber. Matt and Kurt are both from Camp Resilience, which helps service members, veterans, first responders, and their loved ones recover and maintain their physical, psycho, and emotional wellbeing. Matt is a retired Navy Captain who twice served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense. Kurt is a retired Army Officer and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. Welcome to the show, Matt and Kurt. I’m glad to have you on.

Scott DeLuzio    00:01:00    I’d like to give you guys a chance to just tell a little bit about your background, for those people who might be listening and not familiar with who you are. Also how you got involved with Camp Resilience. Matt, maybe let’s start with you if you don’t mind.  

Matt DuBois  00:01:19    No, I don’t mind at  

Matt DuBois  00:01:20    All. Thank you again, Scott. Matt Dubois, I’m an Army Brat.  I didn’t fall far from you. I defected and went to the Navy. I was a 25-year Navy pilot.  As you mentioned, during my time in the Pentagon, I put on a suit and stayed in the Pentagon for a few years after that, then moved to New Hampshire to become a part-timer. Then full-time caregiver for my Army veteran father was doing a little private aviation work during that time and needed something a little more meaningful in my life.  Kurt and Camp Resilience were looking for an executive director as they had been doing what they’ve been doing for so long in a largely volunteer capacity.. They needed somebody to sort of fill in the blanks and that’s why I’m here.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:02:08    Your story and my story are kind of inverted. My grandfather was in the Navy in World War II and I ended up going to the army. I can kind of see where you’re coming from as far as switching things around a little bit.

Scott DeLuzio   00:02:25    How about you, Kurt? Would you mind giving a little background on yourself?  

Kurt Webber  00:02:30     I’m also an Army brat and grew up in Army posts all over the world.  Followed the family tradition and became a third-generation soldier. Both of my sons are fourth-generation soldiers,  I spent 23 years as infantry special forces, also a couple of tours teaching at West Point. I retired in August 2001 and moved to Gilford, New Hampshire. Started teaching at Lakes Regional  Community College, and three weeks into retired life, 9/11 hits. The next day I was on the phone with my ranger buddy, who was chief of staff of the hundred first saying, Hey, I’ll be standing in the door, I’ll come back. As usual with the army, nothing ever happens fast. But finally, I did end up going back on active duty in 2005 and going to Iraq and, working for General Petraeus, training the Iraqi army.  

Kurt Webber  00:03:29    It was a couple knit teams. I tell people I did the kind of the scenic tour of the Sunni triangle., and then basically I had an idea about the Camp Resilience came from a West Point classmate of mine, who was skiing at gunstock. There’s a gentleman who lives here in Gilford who lost both arms to the shoulder in an industrial accident and the guys in amazing adapter skiers. This guy went past my buddy later that day. My classmate and I were having a beer. This is such a beautiful area talking about the lake streets. New Hampshire, and there’s so much to do, so many great outdoor,  sports activities. It would be a great place to do something for veterans. That was basically where the idea came from.  I basically recruited some friends, most of them veterans, but not all here in the Gilford area. We put the Patriot Resilient Leader Institute together and started running Camp Resilience retreats in 2014. Since 2014, we’ve run 83 retreats serving over 780 participants. Something that we really enjoy doing. We know that we’re making a difference in these folks’ lives.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:04:57    I’d love to talk a little bit more about these retreats and the type of things that you guys are doing with these veterans, the first responders, or families. What types of things do you offer during these retreats? I know there’s a bunch of different activities and also how they help the veterans in recovery and their rehabilitation.

Matt Dubois  00:05:25    First, there’s different types of, themes of retreats. But our basic retreat model is three to four day, it combines facilitated peer-to-peer counseling, life skills workshops, and outdoor experiential learning. Of course, that’s where the beauty of the lake comes into play, as we bring them outdoors year-round.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:05:51    That sounds kinda like something I would just want to come and hang out as a vacation spot. The way you’re describing  I’m originally from Connecticut. I’m familiar with that part of the country.  We’ve taken trips up to New Hampshire and Vermont, but that region is really nice.  It’s the type of place where you would go and just kind of hang out. That sounds like what some of the people who are coming up there really need in their life is just a way to kind of unwind.

Matt DuBois  00:06:27    Between those three elements that we talked about and the fact that they get to bond with their people like them. I will say just for the record, we just did a retreat that combined both first responders and veterans for the first time. By about two hours into the first day, it was just one big happy family. But the difference from when they walk in the door and of course getting ’em in the door is the hard part. The difference between them walking in the door and leaving three to four days later is that they are different people. Of course, we do have a post-retreat, follow-up for six months. That’s really the key is to keep them striving in the right direction for the six months following the retreat. We don’t want them to walk out the door and suddenly go back to where they were.  Kurt, did I miss anything?  

Kurt Webber   00:07:17    Part of the attraction of the retreats is it is in a beautiful area and it is kind of like a vacation, but that’s not really what it is. We tell them when they show up during the welcome briefing that over the next three or four or so days, they’re gonna be exposed to different ideas, different coping mechanisms, different activities with the goal being that they will all take something away that is gonna help them improve their lives. What works for Matt may not work for me and vice versa. One of the examples I typically use in my welcome briefing is meditation. Meditation is a very powerful tool. It’s very helpful for people. I’ve tried it and I can’t do it.  

Kurt Webber  00:08:13    I’m a great believer in it. I just can’t personally do it. Yoga, on the other hand, I had never done yoga until we were one of the first retreats we ran and the instructor was Gilford to a small town. Everybody knows each other. The instructor was a guy I had coached football with, and I said, good luck with me. I’ve got the flexibility of a concrete post. Well, I really enjoy yoga and I plan to keep doing it. That’s kind of the idea is that it’s a combination. It’s a wellness activity. It’s outdoor sports activities. The different coping mechanisms. Yoga and meditation are absolutely coping mechanisms as are getting outside and communing with nature going on a hike, the more, for lack of a better word, clinical type coping mechanisms

Kurt Webber  00:09:12    Maybe that even, that’s not really good terms. There are coping mechanisms such as journaling or painting, there’s art. We do equine retreats. That’s a totally different critter, no pun intended. That was the most recent retreat that Matt was talking about. In those cases, they’re actually interacting and bonding with horses and learning very valuable lessons from that. There’s a wide variety of activities and experiences. But the goal is that they all learn something and leave with a specific goal to take the steps to take the lessons that they’ve learned to improve their lives. The feedback that we have gotten over the last eight years and 83 retreats is in fact what’s happening.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:10:12    You both hit on something that is really important with all of this is that first off one coping mechanism is not gonna work for a hundred percent of the people. A hundred percent of the time, there are many different coping mechanisms that are out there. Some people may hate going out into nature and hiking, but other people might love it and really find a connection where they’re able to, use that, to help them in their own healing process. But other people may find painting or other kinds of crafts or other journaling, things like that to really help them. But the whole point here is that you’re exposing them to a wide variety of these different methods of coping and handling things so that they can try ’em out.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:11:07    You got a three, four day, retreat program set up. They could try a whole bunch of these different things and take away the things that work. The nice thing about it is that you can learn the things that don’t work so that they don’t spend so much time on doing yoga. If yoga is not for them or doing meditation, if meditation’s not for them, they can focus on the things that do work for them and that they actually found were helping them. But then also that the follow-up that you were talking about as well, that six-month follow-up afterward. I think it is probably even more important because if you just do something once for a short period of time, it’s not a magic pill that’s gonna automatically fix things. It takes work to continuously focus on this stuff and really make it a part of your life. What do the follow-ups look like? What does that entail?  

Matt DuBois    00:12:09    We use The online social media platform called Workplace, which is an offshoot of Facebook. Essentially it’s a private group that looks and feels a little like Facebook, but it’s a little more professional. These groups come together and bond so quickly, they typically bond during our first activity on the first day and stay bonded really the whole time. This gives them a mechanism to communicate with each other, communicate with us, and it gives us a chance to ask them weekly, to check in with us and let us know how they’re doing on their coping skills. Anything else, we get varying degrees of enthusiasm about this but are groups that are planning their reunions.  But there are groups that really embrace that technology to keep in touch with each other and to let us know how they’re doing. At six months we send ’em the same survey we send ’em when they walked in the door and see how it compares.

Kurt Weber    00:13:15    The group dynamics can’t be emphasized enough.  Matt’s already mentioned how quickly they bond and they open up to each other and they support each other. That’s also part of the follow-up program with the workplace group. We want them to encourage each other to stay in touch and encourage each other, to continue to take the steps to improve their lives, to use what they learned, to improve their lives. Again, we see that a lot. It’s never a hundred percent. We get a lot of the participants and they’re posting every day and they’re reaching out to their teammates.  

Kurt Weber  00:14:05    That’s an important part of the group dynamics is another huge part of the Camp Resilience retreats.  We can consistently get feedback because it was so great to be with other veterans or to be with other first responders. I felt safe. I felt comfortable. Isolation is a big problem with veterans and first responders. The group nature of the retreats and trying to keep the groups together virtually after the retreats with our workplace groups. That’s also very important.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:14:48    I know just from doing this podcast, I talk to veterans all the time.  and this episode here is, gonna be episode 188. I’ve talked to over a hundred veterans, probably 150 plus veterans. Every time that I talk to somebody that maybe at the beginning of the episode, we had never spoken to each other before the episode started. But by the end of it, we formed a connection and we talked for 45 minutes.  Maybe an hour of conversation. We formed a connection. A lot of times we stay in touch afterward and we kind of follow up with each other and we just help each other out, in one way or another, it could be a business connection. I thought about you or whatever.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:15:37    I’m just trying to help each other out. But there is that connection that comes with veterans. I don’t get that in any other group of people that I’ve ever been involved with. The military community, the veterans are really great at coming together and helping each other out with things like that.  That’s a huge benefit to have. The isolation happens when people come back home and they feel like they are not able to connect with the civilians in their neighborhood or in their C. They just say, okay what the heck with it, I’m just gonna wall myself off. I’m just gonna be isolated. I’m just gonna be this grumpy old veteran, who’s sitting by himself at home and just not really integrating into society at all, but when you realize that there’s other people out there who are like you who have similar backgrounds, similar mindset, then you’re able to make those connections and actually have those kinds of relationships that you might have had while you’re in the service.  

Kurt Weber    00:16:46    When you start talking about transitioning out of the service, that’s something where I’m at and has a wealth of experts. I think that’s an important issue to discuss.  

Matt DuBois   00:16:59    I just wanted to mention that these Camps aren’t day camps, people don’t come in the morning and leave in the afternoon, they spend the night. that part of the bonding experience. Usually, it’s in a local end, but, interestingly, not of the equine retreat that we just did. We do that at a facility called up reach that’s sort of outside the lakes region, but it’s perfect for this kind of retreat. They actually keep us in a house all together,  right there on the property. Nobody has to really get in their car. Nobody has to leave. I was actually a little nervous. I know we’ve done this successfully before, but putting people age ranges from 20 to sometimes 70, in shared rooms.  Sometimes 3, 4, or 5 people in a room I was a little worried about,  and so did they. Interestingly enough, it turned into sort of an accelerator on the bonding experience while people were a little nervous about the snores. That kind of thing.  

Matt DuBois  00:18:02    By the first evening, these guys didn’t want to go to bed. They just wanted to talk to each other or until they couldn’t talk anymore, it was really, really cool.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:18:12    That kind of bonding experience that you might get in some of the open bay barracks that you might have I basic training, where you’re with each other 24/ 7 if someone snores you know about it, like everything about everyone and you kind of develop those connections and not to say that you necessarily need to know the intimate details of all these people,  but you end up getting that kind of connection. It probably does accelerate that type of stuff pretty well.  

Matt DuBois    00:18:48    I’m sorry to skip over what Kurt said. Kurt wanted to talk about transition. Anyway, I ran the transition program in the Pentagon for 250,000 people a year.  getting people off active duty, I mean, it takes us a while to make people from civilians into soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines. The fact that we think we can turn them back into civilians in two days of lectures is pretty silly. There’s all kinds of groups like ours out there that help directly with transition, whether it be getting a job, finding out what you want to be when you grow up. We are partnered in our transition. We transition retreats of a different nature.  

Matt DuBois   00:19:35    In fact starting next week, we have a special operations couples retreat that is largely focused around transition.  It is different in that it’s a three-day retreat followed by some online courses when they go home followed by another three-day retreat. We partner with a nonprofit called <inaudible>  and they use the methodology rather than, Hey, this is how you network. This is how you write a resume. They basically say, what brings you happiness? Let’s try to build a career around what makes you happy rather than going and finding a job and trying to figure out how to be happy around that. That’s the model we use a lot of work to be done, sort of nationwide in transitioning veterans.  One of the things that we helped with, is companies that say they want to have higher veterans may not know what that means exactly, and may not know how to keep them once they get them. Making sure that companies are ready for veterans is also something that quite honestly needs to be needed. There needs to be more out there.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:20:46   I forget the exact percentage, but a very high percentage of veterans after transitioning leave their first job within the first year or two. Just because the company is either not ready for veterans, or they’re not ready for that type of environment that they’re walking into. They end up leaving those jobs. That’s kind of a shame too if you find these  

Matt DuBois    00:21:18    Most veterans don’t know what they want to do after they get out, because they don’t know what’s available, they just know what they know.  It’s a matter of showing them what else is possible.  

Kurt Webber   00:21:29    We, everybody hears about the distressingly high, levels of veteran suicide.  I’m not sure if I could actually point to the empirical evidence. I’m sure it’s probably out there, but I suspect that a lot of those are due to unsuccessful transitions because they left the military where they were part of a team and they had a mission and they had a purpose, and then suddenly they’re out in the civilian world. They don’t know what the heck they’re gonna do with each other. They get frustrated because they’re dealing with issues that people don’t understand.  I think a lot of that probably leads to suicide.  The type of coping mechanisms that we can share with them during the Camp Resilience retreats, plus some of the help in the transition.  

Kurt Webber   00:22:23    We have done a number of retreats that help with the transition either before the fact or after the fact and retreats to help veterans who are going back to school. In fact,  we’re just talking about doing another one this coming January. That’s very important too because somebody who spent 6, 5, 6 years in the military, and then they come back and they go to a community college, or a four-year school. It’s a whole new world for them. They’re dealing with 18-year-old kids, college professors and there’s all sorts of coping mechanisms. You gotta learn for that environment too.  There’s lots and lots of things that are out there. We try to meet some of them. Transition is a huge issue. We run couples retreats because military life is tough when couples. It’s tough after you get out too and, helping couples develop better relationships are also important. We do family retreats for the same type of things. Help military families, help military couples, do better.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:23:51    It sounds like there’s a trend going on because I, this is not the first time that I’ve heard stuff like this, where an organization’s looking at more than just one narrow issue with the veterans. They’re looking at more of a holistic view where you’re looking at, transition, you’re looking at employment, you’re looking at education, you’re looking at mental health and physical you’re looking at a lot of different aspects and trying to help create a person who not create, but help a person get to the point where they are happy in all of these areas of their life. Not just focusing on the one, because one area might have an impact on another with the transition into a career that isn’t really what they’re happy with.  That could transition into their home life. Then that causes problems with their marriage. Then that causes mental health issues. It’s just a snowball effect of all this stuff going on. I love to hear that you’re looking at this more than just a narrow focus on one singular issue. You’re looking at the overall health of the veterans, right?  

Matt DuBois    00:25:05    Interestingly enough Kurt touched on student veterans, despite the billions of dollars worth throwing at the GI bill, the number of veterans that walk away with a degree is shockingly low. I won’t tell you there aren’t veterans out there that take the GI bill, just so they get the stipend and don’t have to go to work that probably exists, but most veterans really don’t know what they’re getting into. Many of them haven’t been to school in many years.  and so there are organizations out there VSOs that do academic boot camps and things like that.  They have to be ready for whatever challenge takes them and it meets them. That’s one of the things that Camp Resilience hopes to do with these retreats. We’re gonna add targeting student veterans in the next few years,  

Kurt Webber   00:26:01    We’ve had a couple of student veteran retreats we’ve run in the past, and we have had a retired VA psychologist who was also a professor at Bridgewater State. She gave a really fascinating workshop about how PTSD affects your studies. That really opened my eyes. I wish I had known that, 10, 15 years prior to that, when I was teaching and I had veterans in my class and being a veteran myself. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. Why are these folks struggling? I didn’t understand what I was doing. There’s so many different things that we can, we can focus on and we try to, we try to do as much as we can.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:27:07   One of the things you mentioned earlier is finding a job that people actually enjoy doing. I’ve heard this saying before: if you find a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life because you go to work and you’re happy to be there. It’s not like a drag getting yourself out of bed and getting yourself going to work. It’s not one of those types of things where many people are out there and they hate the work that they do, but they’re doing it because they need the paycheck. They need to put the food on the table and all that stuff. I like this approach where okay, what do you like doing? What makes you happy? What, let’s find something that will not only give you a paycheck but also will make you happy in the process. Maybe it won’t be the highest paycheck in the world if you’re lookin for that. But it’s something that not only are you getting paid, but you’re also happy doing it. And I think that’s probably more important right. Then just a paycheck.  

Matt DuBois   00:28:04    There’s in fact when Kurt was talking about suicides and the things that prevent the biggest protective factor in somebody’s life for that is employment. Meaningful employment that you really enjoy is just that much better.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:28:23     I heard another study that had something to do with the level of happiness that people have versus their income.  I think it was like after you exceed maybe 60 or $70,000, I forget exactly what the number is, the happiness level just kind of plateaus. You could be making 70,000 or you could be making 500,000 and you’re gonna be just as equally happy as far as finances go. 

Matt DuBois  00:28:56    I know a couple of folks who make millions and they’re not happy at all. It doesn’t always go hand in hand. It’s a matter of what makes you happy. 

Scott DeLuzio   00:29:09    They could be making millions and doing something that they don’t enjoy doing. That’s just not gonna keep the happiness up for too long. The money can only go so far.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:29:21    I found that hearing about programs like this talking about them, what we’ve been doing for this episode here, talking about them is a good first step, but sometimes it helps to hear about the success stories that you might have had with obviously keeping individuals, privacy names and things like that out of it. Anything that you might be able to share might be able to help people really understand what the program’s all about.  

Kurt Webber  00:29:46  I can think of a number of who have told us that we’ve made a big difference in their lives. We’ve had a number who have said we saved their lives. That poem I shared with you earlier was. She said, learning that, that you’re not alone. I mean, so in many cases, I, it’s just it’s the retreat experience as a whole and the friendships and the bonding that they get with the other veterans that they maintain after the retreat. They don’t feel alone. Whatever tool took away, whether it be meditation, rock climbing, or whatever helps them, we know that that’s working and because we continually hear from our alumni who tell us that it’s made a big difference  

Matt DuBois   00:30:59    When our veterans come, they very rarely go back in standard formation or jump back in a tank or back in a plane. But our first responders are largely still on active duty. When we talk about saving lives, it may not be their lives that we’re talking about. They go back and they’re better cops, better firefighters, better EMTs because of the experience they had with us. they may not be so quick to do something that they might have done based on some of their invisible wounds based on some of the coping skills we’ve taught them and the experience they’ve had at Camp Resilience. That’s not a specific example, but it’s worth knowing that most of our first responders actually go back to work after the retreats.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:31:47     I think that’s important to note the difference between the veterans and the first responders. Because a lot of those first responders are going back to work and it is important to have the level head to be able to make snap decisions and make them in a responsible way and make them so that they aren’t putting themselves or other people  in harm’s way unnecessarily  

Matt DuBois    00:32:17    It makes them better husbands, better fathers, better brothers, better friends, et cetera. All of that is goodness. It’s easy to hop out of bed in the morning when you think about things like that.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:32:30    I think that that’s really important, knowing that their overall picture of their lives are going to find some sort of improvement, with their home life, their professional life, their friends, their family, all, all that stuff will, their relationships will just get better. They’ll have better coping mechanisms in place so that they can deal with the things that they might be still struggling with, but they’ll have a better way to cope with those things as they go through their lives. That just makes things overall better.  

Kurt Webber   00:33:13    This is for both the military, the veterans and the first responders, and this is difficult for many of them. Accept that they can ask for help and that it’s okay for them to say that they need help because they are exposed. In some cases on almost a daily basis, but, but pretty much all of ’em encounter traumatic events and things that give them problems right after the event, but sometimes years afterwards. I think we as a society and the military and the first responder community have finally started to come to realize that this is not an acknowledgment of weakness. It’s the body’s natural reaction to stress and traumatic events. That’s what PTSD is, or PTS is.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it. I think that’s probably one of the important takeaways from that many of these folks get is that it’s okay to ask for help and to seek help and it’s gonna improve their lives. 

Matt DuBois    00:34:44    There are most people who support it. The Sergeant Major of the Army actually, tweets when he takes a mental health thing because he wants everybody to know that it’s okay to do just that. We always say, if you sprained your ankle, you go see a doctor and you get it fixed. There’s fixes for this too. You just gotta know how to do it and know that it’s okay, to go do it.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:35:13   It’s completely natural to be experiencing some of these symptoms that you might be experiencing based on the traumatic events that you might have experienced. Like you said, you have a physical injury, you go to the doctor and you get it fixed. No one is casting any judgment on you. Why can’t you go ruck or run or whatever with that broken ankle or that sprained ankle? Well, obviously you can’t because you’re broken, something needs to be fixed. Why can’t you process things with a normal, clear head that you might have had before the trauma? Well of course you can’t because there’s something going on up there that needs some addressing, and that’s exactly what Camp Resilience  Other organizations out there are doing.  I feel that it’s really important to shed light on the work that you guys are doing so that the veterans of first responders, their families are able to get the help that they need.  For anyone that might be interested, what do they need to do in order to get, get involved and participate in these retreats?  

Matt DuBois   00:36:28    Well, first we have a website Camp-Resilience.org. What’s a great place to start that we give people the schedule of our upcoming retreats. We do them by year. Probably by the end of the summer early September, we’ll have next year’s retreats scheduled out.  I mentioned earlier that we have different theme retreats and Kurt touched on family retreats and couples retreats. We also do retreats for caregivers. We’ve talked about adding for student veterans, we’re going to add an adaptive sports retreat or two next year, probably as well. For those who may not be as mobile as everyone else. We are doing one this year for those that are about to get or have recently obtained service dogs. Care and feeding of the dog are all those things. One other retreat that we added last year that was a big hit was a creative wellness retreat, where we brought in some songwriters from Nashville, stayed in the house that they stay in for the equine retreats. They wrote songs and went to museums and had a good old time. Apparently, it was more successful and more moving than everybody expected it to be.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:37:41   I’m imagining since Camp Resilience and the organization that surrounds it is a nonprofit, I’m sure you guys have some needs as far as finances and volunteers go. What types of things are you looking for help with and how can people get involved with that?  

Kurt Webber   00:38:01    Matt mentioned the website and so the website is a great place to go not only to find out about our retreats. If you’re interested in coming to a retreat if you’re a veteran or first responder. but there’s also information about being a volunteer. We are still mostly a volunteer organization, so we’re always looking for volunteers who might want to help out with a retreat and it can be a veteran, or it could be a non-veteran, just a citizen who wants to give back. So typically we’ll send out an email to our pool of volunteers a couple of weeks after the retreat saying, okay, here’s the schedule for this retreat? What do you wanna do? Typically show up for lunch and go out on the hike or show up for lunch and go kayaking or and since it’s volunteer, you do as much, or as little as, you want. There’s also information on the website about how to volunteer, to help out with Camp Resilience. Then there’s also information on how to donate because we’re a 501c3 charitable organization and like every other charitable organization out there, we need donations, to be able to continue to accomplish our mission.  

Matt DuBois    00:39:23    The only thing, if you don’t mind me adding is we also have a couple of,  fundraising events throughout the year that we need both volunteer help for as well as donations, sponsor support on July 15th, we will be doing our second annual Green Beret with a mission challenge where we go out to a farm out in the middle of New Hampshire. We have teams that run around and compete against each other, doing special forces kind of stuff. We were out walking the course just the other day.  I can tell you just walking the course isn’t easy. Running it in a competition, with backpacks and all the weapons and all that stuff will be quite a bit harder. But if anybody’s interested in either competing, volunteering, or sponsoring that, please,  I can give my phone number or email it’s up to you, Scott.  

Matt DuBois   00:40:19    My phone number is (703) 209-4276. My email is [email protected].  If I can’t answer the question, I will point ’em in the right direction. So that’s event number one. Number two is, we are going to do a motorcycle ride around the lake in September. Since I don’t ride a motorcycle, I just go sit at the venue and keep the barbecue going while everybody’s riding around. People are welcome to come, come join me and sit in the sun at the lake. Of course, if anybody wants, to sponsor Camp Resilience directly, they do that as well. We have levels of sponsorship that I’ll be happy to talk to them about. We take donors and sponsorships big and small.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:41:08   It sounds like you have the primetime job at that motorcycle event there where the barbecue  

Scott DeLuzio    00:41:21    Anything else before we wrap up here anything else that you guys want to add about Camp Resilience or, or anything in, in general, that might be beneficial to the listeners?  

Kurt Webber   00:41:38    The one thing that I would just like I already kind of mentioned is that the participants of the retreats learn that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to ask for help and to realize that because of your service it’s not unexpected for you to be dealing with issues like PTSD or depression. Probably the biggest challenge is to get the folks to actually make that first step and come to the retreat. In many cases we see them, they show you, you see when they show up and you can tell, they’re not really sure they want to be there. And they’ll say I’m here because my therapist told me I should come or my wife or my husband or this or that.  

Kurt Webber  00:42:29    Like Matt has already said, it doesn’t take long within the first hour or two, the retreat they’ve bonded with the other participants. They feel comfortable, they feel safe. They’re happy they’re there. It’s getting them there in the first place.  Spreading the word that I think any veteran or first responder could benefit from one of our retreats, even if you don’t think that you’re dealing with any issues. I know I learn stuff at every retreat we run. Camp Resilience exists, go do it, you’ll be better for it in the long term. That is probably the biggest challenge. That’s what I would like to end up with.  

Matt DuBois  00:43:27    The demand for our services exceeds our supply.  One of the reasons they brought in a full-time executive director is to try to grow, to meet that demand. While I’d love for people to volunteer and donate to Camp Resilience if that’s not what they want to do, I’m sure the other organizations across the country are experiencing the same shortages of resources and personnel to meet the demand in this area. If they don’t want to give to us, although they should and they can go and give to anyone in their local area, I would encourage them to volunteer and donate to the organization like ours near them.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:44:10     I think organizations like this are essential to getting the veterans, the help that they need, the first responders, their families, the caregivers, everyone who’s involved in their lives, the help that they need to get back on track.. There are organizations all over the country that are doing similar things. If you don’t happen to be in the New Hampshire area, I’m sure there’s other organizations that are nearby that you can help out with. For the listeners who maybe aren’t looking necessarily to get involved as far as a participant but have the, the means and resources to volunteer or donate,  definitely do that because without organizations like this, we are relying on government organizations, like the VA, which nothing wrong with them, but they have limited resources too. We need to do as much as we can as a community to help each other out. I think it is really important. Whatever you can do to help out these organizations, definitely do reach out. 

Matt DuBois   00:45:25    Who just one more correction. We serve the entire New England area, not just New Hampshire. The truth of the matter is we serve anybody who can get here on their own. We don’t pay for transportation costs. If somebody wants to drive from outside the New England area, we will take them  

Kurt Webber   But we cover all the other costs.  

Matt DuBois    00:45:46    We do everything else at no cost to the veteran or first responder.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:45:51   That was an important point I wanted to touch on earlier, that there is no cost to the veteran, other than the transportation. That probably should make it a little bit easier for them, to get in touch and reach out and say, what I’ll do this.  If there’s not that financial burden that they have, then it should just be easier for them to reach out and participate. For anyone who wants to get involved for the listeners, check out the show notes, I’ll have links to Camp Resilience and all of the information that you might need to get involved, whether it’s donations or finding out, how to participate in some of these streets, I’ll have the information available for you. Check that out in the show notes. Matt and Kurt, I’m really glad that you were able to come on the show today and talk about Camp Resilience.  It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. I really do appreciate you taking the time outta your day to come and share what you guys did.  

Kurt Webber   00:46:55    Oh, thanks for having us.  

Matt DuBois  00:46:57    Thanks, Scott. Thanks for everything you do.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:47:00    Thank you.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:47:02    Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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