Episode 243 Stephanie Dasher Warrior Surf Foundation Transcript

This transcript is from episode 243 with guest Stephanie Dasher.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a 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.

Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast Today my guest is Stephanie Dasher, and Stephanie is a Navy veteran and the executive director of the Warrior Surf Foundation, which we’re going to be talking about more in this episode. But first, I wanna welcome Stephanie to the show. So welcome Stephanie.

Scott DeLuzio: I’m glad to have you here.

Stephanie Dasher: Yeah, thank you so much

Scott DeLuzio: for having me. Yeah, absolutely. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background.

Stephanie Dasher: Okay, that makes sense. I think maybe the easiest way to, to kind of give you my background is to share how I ended up sitting in this chair.

Stephanie Dasher: [00:01:00] I’m a veteran. My dad was a veteran and my spouse is a combat veteran. And so, I joke that I’m a study of one. I feel like I kind of live the veteran experience from all the angles possible. When I was young, probably got married when I was 20 at my husband when I was still in the Navy he deployed overseas to Iraq.

Stephanie Dasher: He was there for 15 months because he’d been stopped lost. And going into that experience, I thought, thinking back on my childhood, I really believed like, oh, I have the skills to deal with this. Like this is no big deal. You know, my dad’s got ptsd, he’s got some anxiety and depression, and I thought really, I was fully prepared for what I would experience when he came.

Stephanie Dasher: Overseas. And the [00:02:00] stark reality was, in fact, I was not, I had no clue what I was walking into. And what I don’t think he and either one of us really knew what we were walking into. And so he came back from, or overseas, I was still in the Navy at the time and we had a daughter. And you know, that was a very life changing experience for both of.

Stephanie Dasher: When he first got back, the the initial after effects of being overseas were all the things you see in the movies. You know, he would hit the deck every time there was a loud noise or he would take off running. He got upset that fight or flight would kick in, you know, balloons popping. All the things that you see in TV shows and movie.

Stephanie Dasher: That’s just such a small part of that though, because after that kind of settled down, and I think that for a lot of people that tends to settle, came all of the other pieces [00:03:00] that the darker parts of the experience of ptsd, anxiety and depression the questioning of. His purpose, his value, wondering if he had made mistakes when he was over there, if he had done wrong things, you know, struggling with faith and spirituality and.

Stephanie Dasher: That kind of, it really ramped up and you know, that’s, it’s, it is really insidious and it sneaks in places that you’re not expecting it. And sometimes you have really good days and you think, oh, things are better. And then you kind of fall down into this pit again. And it’s just a bit of a spiral.

Stephanie Dasher: And. While all of that was happening and he was trying to go back to school and get a degree, which he did successfully it would just creep back in, in the day to day lives. And it would cause a lot of stress for us. And our daughter got sick and she had cancer relapse. And so when we were trying to work through and [00:04:00] deal with the day to day stressors, Of regular life.

Stephanie Dasher: We had these other things that were kind of creating this feeling like we were climbing in this insurmountable mountain. And it was, it became really painful, you know, and then you find, I think in relationships, a lot of resentment builds up back and forth. And he tried a lot of different things, a lot of different, the.

Stephanie Dasher: Medicines. And nothing was working. And I think we’re both getting really exhausted. And we got to a point where I was afraid to leave him at home by himself. In fact, I would always leave a kid with him. Cause I had a sense that as long as there was a kid there, I wouldn’t come home.

Stephanie Dasher: Something I didn’t wanna come home. and, you know, we were at a place, it got to the point where we were at a place where, you know, he was, I was finding him in the attic, I’d find him in [00:05:00] the closet and, you know, my own heart is breaking. Cause I’m like I can’t fix this. I don’t have the tools, I don’t have the skills to fix this.

Stephanie Dasher: And I think in those moments it could have been really easy to give up, to walk away and to say you’re on your own. But I couldn’t. And right around the peak of when things were their worst therapist at the VA mentioned Warrior Serve Foundation and she said, Hey, you should check this out. And he mentioned it to me and I have since I was a very small child, loved water, loved the ocean, and I was like, I’m gonna sign this up.

Stephanie Dasher: And then he was like do not do that. And I was like, I’m doing. and I signed us up and I drug him out to the beach and he hated it. He hated every second of it. He actually got really angry at me and angry at Andy, who’s the founder and a couple of the [00:06:00] other veterans that have been around, you know, the foundation since the beginning.

Stephanie Dasher: He’s like, they’re vetting me, you know, he’s just so mad about everything. And I also saw this little piece of him. Kind of latch onto surfing. It’s challenging. It’s not easy. And I could see that there was, this needed him to kind of conquer that. And I, I don’t, I can’t, I can never explain why, but I just really put my foot down and I was like, we’re gonna do this.

Stephanie Dasher: And so we kept coming and I watched him unfold. I watched a lot of those pieces of hurt begin to dissolve, and I watched him gain skills that I didn’t think were possible, not only for him, but for myself, you know, and for my kids and learning even for me. How do I, how can I, [00:07:00] Not take these things personally.

Stephanie Dasher: How do I deescalate these situations? And so, it changed his life and I saw, I was like, wow, this is powerful. And. I was like, I just wanna help. And I looked at the founder and I was like, give me something to do. Just anything. And he, you know, he was get, he kind of started off giving me these little menial tasks and I’m a nerd at heart.

Stephanie Dasher: I’m in geek. I’m a dork. I love to build things. And they couldn’t really get rid of me. And so I just started building and. Helping to grow it and implementing tools and different things that, you know, my background has, I’ve been really lucky to have experience I’ve had that allowed me to learn how to be strategically minded and business oriented.

Stephanie Dasher: And, you know, when the founder wanted to step down as the executive director the board asked if I would step in and it was really hard. I actually didn’t want to do it. I. [00:08:00] I tried to talk Andy out of stepping down many times, partially because I felt like it was his vision and I just wanted to help him with his vision.

Stephanie Dasher: And partially because I knew the responsibility that I would be taking on if I did step into this role. And it was, it’s a lot, it’s humbling and it’s intimidating and it’s a lot of responsibility.

Scott DeLuzio: It is for sure. You know, taking over Especi. Stepping in the shoes of a founder of an organization. There, I would imagine there’s probably a bit of that imposter syndrome where it’s like, well, this is your baby.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s not mine. You know, how am I going to care for this, the way that you cared for it all these years? And you know, it just probably would be a difficult thing to do. However, with that said, I. Think just based on the story that you told with the experience that you went through with your husband and everything that, that you [00:09:00] dealt with, you’re probably the right person for the job because you’re obviously strong enough to deal with difficult situations and you know, when you were telling your story and how everything was going when your husband came home, a lot of.

Scott DeLuzio: Resonated with me in terms of my own story when I came home and the stuff that my wife had to deal with me. And I was not the easiest person to be around. And, you know, people like, like you, like my wife, people who are strong and stick with their spouse and stick through the, those difficult times.

Scott DeLuzio: I feel like. Are putting in the hard work and they’re going to reap the rewards after, you know, , all that hard work comes and pays off because that person will be better and stronger for having that person in their [00:10:00] life. And so I have no doubt that you are the right person for this job for taking over that role.

Scott DeLuzio: So, So I’m glad that, first off thank you for sharing all of that with us. If you could, I know you weren’t there from the beginning, but could you tell us a little bit about how the Warrior Surf Foundation got started and where did that come from? Yeah, so it

Stephanie Dasher: started in 2015. Andy Man’s the founder.

Stephanie Dasher: He’s a marine combat veteran. And he is such a fascinating person. I think he came back from his own time overseas and was dealing with anxiety and depression, and he had a friend up north who took him out surfing in the dead of winter, no surf lesson. You he here’s, put him on a board and was like, paddle.

Stephanie Dasher: And so, you know, he’s in this freezing cold water. But it had a really profound effect on him. And he tells a story of feeling like he’d been [00:11:00] called home. And I think that stuck with him for a while. And it was in his being in a way that he couldn’t shake. And he came down to Charleston and he started just taking veterans and putting ’em in the.

Stephanie Dasher: And from there it really just grew. I kind of joke, that’s Andy on a street corner with a surf where like, Hey man, you wanna get a water? Cause that’s just very much, he’s such an unassuming person. It’s just how he is and It caught on. I mean, people were having these experiences and it started really small.

Stephanie Dasher: It was just Saturdays, twice a month. In the beginning there was trauma therapy available, wasn’t required. And we realized really quickly, But that wasn’t effective. People didn’t, people, first of all, people didn’t want to have anything to do with the word therapy, and a lot of people didn’t wanna do trauma [00:12:00] therapy.

Stephanie Dasher: And so we started talking to another psychologist who does work at the PAs. She’s a mastermind. And she developed this program called Evolutionary Psychology. And it’s a lot different than your typical. Therapy in that it’s designed to give you the individual, the tools to overcome things.

Stephanie Dasher: And so we have 12 modules. Eight of them are required for graduation from the program at this point. But each module dives into these different parts of our humanity, and it’s designed so that no matter who you are, what your socioeconomic cultural background, it applies to. So when veterans come to our program, they have to fill out an aligning purpose scale, which is we ask them to list areas of importance in their life, three to five, and they then notate how often they act in those [00:13:00] areas and then how often they would act they would need to act in order to feel fulfilled.

Stephanie Dasher: And so that can put life into perspective a little bit. And so when they do that, then we. The modules to help them get there. And I like to bring up one of these modules cuz I think it makes, you know, we have mindfulness and all these, but one of ’em that I like to bring up that I know is just every veteran deals with is it’s called satisfying.

Stephanie Dasher: And it’s this idea that we can allow things to meet minimum requirements in life. How do we do that? We don’t need to spend 800 hours researching a pair of tennis shoes to find the perfect pair of tennis shoes. And a lot of us were raised, you know, we go in the military brains aren’t even fully developed yet, and it’s high stakes, and we’re told that it’s high stakes from the get go.

Stephanie Dasher: And then you come out of that and you’re like, everything’s size stakes. And it’s not [00:14:00]

Scott DeLuzio: that. That’s true. I came out, I treated every decision, every action, every everything as if it was life and death combat related situation. It, like you said, it could have been going to store to the store to buy a pair of shoes or grocery shopping or just.

Scott DeLuzio: How I clean the house or whatever it was with that level of intensity. And you can’t operate at that level of intensity at 24 7, 365 constantly. You just can’t. But sometimes we just get wired that way and it like, that’s just how we operate and everything is that level of intensity and it’s hard to turn that off.

Stephanie Dasher: I think naming it helps, you know? And so that’s the power. Once you are like, whoa, I’ve named this, I’m doing this. Then you see the pattern, you’re like, okay, I’m gonna choose now. [00:15:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Right? And that’s an important part of that is this is a choice, right? We choose to act the way we act and behave the way, be we behave and do all of the things that we do.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s a choice. And we can choose to not be that running at a thousand miles an hour with your hair on fire, level of intensity. Like you, you can tone it down a bit, , like you can put the fire out. You can go for a slow jog if you want, not be going that fast through life constantly, right?

Scott DeLuzio: . Yeah. I have to be honest. So, so talking about the Warrior Surf Foundation I mentioned this before we started recording. The first time I think I even heard of using surf as a form of therapy was when I was introduced to the Warrior surf Foundation. And I’m curious to, to know how does that work from.

Scott DeLuzio: The I obviously there you have those different modules [00:16:00] that, that you require people to go through. But specifically focusing on the surf aspect of it, how does that play into the overall picture of the wellness of the people going through the program?

Stephanie Dasher: That’s a really great question.

Stephanie Dasher: So it’s a 12 week program. I think I told you a few minutes ago that we, it’s gone from like twice monthly to now it’s 12 weeks. And just as a general. So we’ve implemented some graduation requirements. So to graduate from the program, you have to do 10 semi-private surf sessions. You have to do eight wellness coaching sessions, three group yoga sessions, and a yoga one on one.

Stephanie Dasher: And the reason that we did that is because each piece of the program, Feeds back into the other piece, and the idea is you take each one of these tools back into your daily life. So it’s like, how do you, a lot of times when I talk about spirit therapy, people are like, oh, you’re just pushing people in waves.

Stephanie Dasher: How does that do anything? And on the [00:17:00] surface, I totally get it. You’re like, okay. And the reality is there’s a lot of little pieces at work. We know that there’s science that says that when we’re near water, our brainwaves. We also know that if you think about a football stadium, human beings are very good at syncing up.

Stephanie Dasher: If you think about when people do the wave, you have people that are terrible, they have no rhythm, but in a group setting like that, they’re able to sync up and it’s, you know, that level of synchronicity is really powerful. The brain gets into a flow state when you’re in the. It’s so rhythmic. I mean, anybody that’s been in or near any water knows how rhythmic water is.

Stephanie Dasher: And I, I think what happens is based on some of the studies we’re seeing is your body, your brain actually sinks up to that rhythm and it’s really difficult not to. And so when you get into that flow state, your brain becomes more [00:18:00] malleable. For some people, you they’re fearful at first. Or they come in with a lot of ego, which is, in my opinion, just masking beer.

Stephanie Dasher: And they slowly sort of slip into this flow state. And they are forced to be mindful, which is something a lot of us in society now struggle with. But veterans, I think, can struggle with in particular is being mindful and being where your feet are present in the. If you’re in the ocean and you’re surfing and you’re not mindful, you’re gonna get RET and you’re going to fall and you’re gonna face plant.

Stephanie Dasher: And that sucks. And so people don’t wanna experience that. And so then they’re forced into the state of mindfulness. They don’t even maybe realize it at first. And you take that and you pair that with wellness coaching and these different modules that we go through. And we’re like, [00:19:00] okay, you fell off the board.

Stephanie Dasher: What are you gonna do? You’re, you missed a wave. You didn’t do it the way you wanted to. Okay. You’re frustrated. You got back up on the board. Maybe you’ve changed your perspective, your perception of what’s going on out there. Now let’s take that, let’s apply that to our day to day life. So not only are we taking the wellness coaching skills and applying ’em to surfing as they’re surfing we’re reinforcing those skills there, and then we’re taking it back on the beach and we’re like, okay, let’s talk about what you experience out there.

Stephanie Dasher: How does that translate to your daily life? What are you doing when you fall off the wagon on your daily life? How are you interpreting that? And then the even deeper and probably most important question, we start to ask people, Why, and getting people to ask themselves that, why did I react that way? Why am I so responsive to this stimuli?

Stephanie Dasher: Where is that coming from? What does that mean? And that, let’s [00:20:00] use some of those tools to, rather than spiral down, let’s spiral up

Scott DeLuzio: that question. Why is so important? Because a lot of times I know in my own life, I just react. And I’ve seen this in other people too. We just react without necessarily thinking, why am I reacting this way? Why am I saying this? Why am I doing this? Just why is any of this happening? And when you have somebody else asking you that question, it forces you to kind of step back and look at the big picture of whatever the situation is going on in front of you.

Scott DeLuzio: And really think about, okay, well why did I do this thing or say this thing or react how I reacted to whatever it was. And when you have people who are standing there in the [00:21:00] ocean on a search board, and they are doing the wrong thing and it caused them to fall off the board and. They probably are gonna start asking themselves why before they start doing that wrong thing.

Scott DeLuzio: Like why do I need to do this? What’s the next step? What do I need to do to keep myself on the board not wrecking completely? And then when you apply that to your day to day life, I mean, you’re not living on a surfboard obviously, but when you apply that to your day to day life I feel like then you.

Scott DeLuzio: Really making some progress in terms of the mindfulness and the ability to make rational, clear decisions with whatever it is that you’re facing in your life. Right?

Stephanie Dasher: Definitely. And you can’t hide from yourself in surfing. You can’t hide. You can hide for yourself in a lot of places, and you can lie to yourself in a lot of places, but surfing’s not one of.

Stephanie Dasher: If you’re not doing it right, [00:22:00] if you’re not showing up for yourself, all those things, it’s there on the surface and you’re faced with it in a really real way, and it’s humbling. And when you’re honest with yourself and you’re forced to be honest with yourself like that, to show up, to be mindful, it kind of becomes like muscle memory and you begin to take it less personally.

Stephanie Dasher: Sometimes it’s not the right wave, you know, you paddled for the wrong wave, but it wasn’t even anything you did. And. And you become less judgmental of yourself.

Scott DeLuzio: And that’s a good point too, because sometimes things in life just don’t go right. And it’s not because you did anything wrong, it’s just because things don’t go right all the time.

Scott DeLuzio: Like life is not perfect. It doesn’t always end up going the way you want it to, and you kind of have to just roll with the bunches. Be okay with things not being okay from time to time. I mean it, that’s not gonna be a daily occurrence where everything goes wrong every single day, [00:23:00] but there are going to be days where things go wrong, whether they’re your fault or not.

Scott DeLuzio: The things do go wrong and you have to learn how to deal with that and not have a meltdown or have a complete episode over something going wrong. Right? So, I love this idea of getting into the water and. And using surf to kind of highlight some of these faults that we might have in our own life.

Scott DeLuzio: And I know the closest I’ve ever come from to surfing. I just to be perfectly clear here, I’ve never surfed before. I live in Arizona, so it’s not like a whole lot of opportunities in Arizona here to go surfing, but , yeah. But the closest I’ve ever come was on a cruise, one of those those wave Rider type things.

Scott DeLuzio: And I completely. Busted my ass so many times on that, that I know I’m, I definitely don’t have natural talent when it comes to surfing or anything like that. But you know, it also probably goes along the lines of not having, you know, any [00:24:00] adequate lessons in terms of what I should be doing or anything like that.

Scott DeLuzio: But I did notice, you know, you, you try something and you fail and then you try something and you fail. You, and if you keep trying, eventually you can. And eventually you get better and better. But like you were saying before, you really do have to focus on what it is that you’re doing, what went wrong the last time, and think about that and okay, this time was a little bit better.

Scott DeLuzio: Why did it go a little bit better this time? What did I do differently this time than I did last time? And how could I do more of that? And then you really do start thinking about. Things that you need to do in order to be successful with the task at hand, in this case surfing. But when, like you said, it becomes muscle memory and it’s, you start applying that to other areas of your life and when you do that, then you end up having situations where you’re growing in multiple areas of your life and getting better at lots of different things as opposed to just surfing [00:25:00] or.

Scott DeLuzio: That one area of your life that you might be focused on.

Stephanie Dasher: Yeah. I would say too, I think you touched on something really powerful here, that we can be overlooked. We, big traumas can sometimes make us feel like little traumas are big traumas, like little experiences are really big. And in surfing, what, well, let me back up a second.

Stephanie Dasher: We bond over the. That’s human nature. It’s part of, you know, the evolution to keep us alive. When we retell stories, we’re not always telling these stories. The parts of the stories are where we won. We’re talking about, okay, it’s five surfboards flew off the roof in the middle of I 95 while we’re driving to New Jersey.

Stephanie Dasher: That’s true story. And when we talk about the trip, that’s the piece that we remember and it’s the overcoming part of. And in surfing you have all these little Icom microtraumas with this group and this community [00:26:00] of people that you overcome and that builds confidence and it builds a sense of self-worth and it, it allows people to bond and grow together So that.

Stephanie Dasher: It changes your perspective on some of those little things in life that can send us over the edge. They become learning experiences that we allow ourselves to bond over versus these insurmountable things that we can’t recover from.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. When I was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, our unit was down in Louisiana doing some training and our.

Scott DeLuzio: Lieutenant decided to take us out one night and do some off-road driving in the Humvees and get. Get some of the younger guys more experience and some driving and land navigation in the trucks and everything. And it was fine, except for it had been really rainy down there. And the mud was [00:27:00] everywhere.

Scott DeLuzio: The trucks started getting stuck. It was just, it started to become a nightmare and as awful as that night was with the amount of. We went out around little bit after like dinner time period, like six, seven o’clock at night. And we didn’t get back until around lunchtime the next day because it was only supposed to be like an hour or so going out, but it ended up being almost a full day of us being out there stuck in the mud.

Scott DeLuzio: We fortunately had some access. We were chopping trees down to use to stick under the tires. It was a disaster, and that, as bad as that was, It became the thing that we bonded over the most. Like we came as a group. We came so much tighter and so much closer after that experience that shared suffering, if you will, where we all just had to face this crappy situation and just deal with it.

Scott DeLuzio: And we did. We got through it all and we [00:28:00] overcame. The bad situation, but I don’t think we would’ve been anywhere near as close, or even to this day, we wouldn’t be anywhere near as close if it wasn’t for that one day getting stuck in the mud and having literally the worst time trying to get out.

Scott DeLuzio: It was awful, , but we wouldn’t be anywhere near as close. So I kind of get what you’re saying with, you know, stuff like the surfboards flying off the roof of the car like. That could be a thing that, that brings you closer together. It’s like dealing with that situation, trying to pick up the pieces off the highway or whatever it was that you ended up doing, like that is, is something that will bring people together and bond people together.

Scott DeLuzio: So, Is there let’s go back to the this program and talk about some of like the logistics and for the listeners who are interested talk about like, are there any costs involved what does it take [00:29:00] to participate in the program? What are some of those first steps and how do people get involved if they’re in.

Stephanie Dasher: So there’s no cost. It’s a hundred percent free for veterans and their families. We’re even, we always include the family on some level, but we’re really working now for 2023 to have a spouse, caregiver, and child programs that’s specific to those people. And in a way that’s not like, here’s how to support your veteran.

Stephanie Dasher: Cause that’s a little bit performative and it’s like, yeah, great. They’ve been doing that. What tools do they need to fill whole? Because we can’t fill we reach out a lot to fill holes with other things. And so just giving people the tools to fill their own holes, to communicate in a way that builds the family unit.

Stephanie Dasher: It’s really important for us. But people just have to apply on our website. So they go on, they fill out an application. Our wellness director goes through all of those applications and she works on assigning people to our camps. [00:30:00] And we do one camp every month. So we start a 12 week group every month from March through September.

Stephanie Dasher: And then we also do some travel camps throughout the. In the 12 weeks, you are able to schedule with a circum instructor almost anytime. They’re running almost seven days a week. I really try to get them to not do that, but sometimes they ignore me. I have to, I actually have a , a calendar invite that says thou shall not work on Monday.

Stephanie Dasher: Just to give the the team a break cuz they tend to work too hard, pull them back a little bit for their own wellbeing. The same thing with our wellness coaches. They’re assigned a coach that we do a little bit more intentionally. We wanted to work with the same coach throughout the program because that piece of the, it can be a little bit more intimate and you wanna build a rapport.

Stephanie Dasher: So we’re, and we work really hard to make sure that when we assign our wellness coaches is a really good fit to our participants. And then they’re [00:31:00] assigned a one-on-one yoga coach for that first one-on-one yoga session we have to do. The reason that we do. I’m gonna be totally transparent here.

Stephanie Dasher: And I tell everybodys on day one, I know that people are afraid of yoga and they’re like, oh, I can’t touch my toes, you know? And I’m like, listen, yoga is really not even about that. You don’t have to be a tall, skinny, white woman to do yoga. And I see the irony in me saying that as well. , it’s about being present with.

Stephanie Dasher: About realizing that our thoughts and feelings are not who we are. And we want people to have confidence going into it. And so that’s why we do that one on one. I don’t care if you can touch your toes or not. I care if you can be, if you can sit with yourself. And then the number one most important piece to participating is showing up for yourself.

Stephanie Dasher: We tell all of our veterans. You chose to be here and you, if you show up for yourself a [00:32:00] hundred percent, the staff will show up 110% for you. But it’s really about you. We’re just a conduit. We don’t have all the answers, but this is the direction we’re going. We think this is right. And if you want come along with us, there are going to be days where you wanna quit, where you don’t wanna come out to the beach.

Stephanie Dasher: You don’t want to do your wellness coaching session. You’re feeling afraid, and that’s when you need to press. And keep going. And when you do, if you do, what you find on the other side is a community of people that really care and that will lift you up, and that you’ll be able to lift up too when you’re ready.

Scott DeLuzio: And if I found that when people are not willing to help themselves, They’re not willing to do the work that needs to be done to improve whatever aspect of their life. You know, it could be their physical health, mental health, whatever it happens to be. Even things with education or jobs or whatever.

Scott DeLuzio: If they’re not willing to help themselves it almost doesn’t matter how much effort [00:33:00] somebody else puts in they’re not gonna make any progress. I mean, you can go and do the work for them, but it’s not going to have. Lasting benefits, it’s not going to help them in the long run. So, and in this case, the work really can’t be done by somebody else.

Scott DeLuzio: You can show them how to do the work, but you can’t do it for them. They have to want to get better on their own. Otherwise, it, I don’t think it’ll work. So, so yeah, keep showing up. Keep doing the work. Digging in especially when it gets hard because that’s where growth happens, is by overcoming some of those difficult things that you are facing.

Scott DeLuzio: And that’s I think, probably where the benefit comes in is because this. Is not an easy thing to do. Surfing, you know, especially if you’ve never surfed before. Surfing is not easy. , neither is a lot of the other things that that people try to do. But when. Accomplish something and you do it the right way.

Scott DeLuzio: It really does help to [00:34:00] change your mindset and all the benefits that you talked about before with being around the water and how it helps kind of adapt your mind to this new situation. You know, all of all that stuff is only going to work if you show up and do the work. And that’s, I think where the power in this organization comes from.

Scott DeLuzio: So, you mentioned the website before, warrior surf.org. . So for anyone who is looking to get involved in and check that program out, go to warrior surf.org. And I’m sure like any non-profit. I’m sure you guys have needs in terms of donations or volunteers and things like that.

Scott DeLuzio: Where can people go to find out more about how to support Warrior Surf Foundation and are there any specific needs that you guys have right now?

Stephanie Dasher: So obviously they can go to our website and check that out. They can go to our donate page. We always need volunteers, which is, you know, pretty much standard across the board.

Stephanie Dasher: For organizations like [00:35:00] ours, I think what we really need is just awareness. Spreading awareness is as valuable as giving a dollar. For people to know that organizations like this exists with boots on the ground that are doing the work is powerful to understand that there. More than one way to, for veterans to have access to healing is powerful.

Stephanie Dasher: And so I think having the support of a community of the country, of our systems that we have in place to, to lift organizations like ours up so that we can do the work you know, for me, that’s really what I

Scott DeLuzio: hope for. Yeah, absolutely. I, That kind of message, getting that out there to people who don’t know that organizations like Warrior Surf Foundation even exist is really powerful because when you feel like you’ve tried everything you’ve exhausted all the resources that are out there, [00:36:00] that’s where hope goes to die.

Scott DeLuzio: And it. Really is sad because there are so many organizations like Warrior Surf Foundation that are doing great things and are changing lives, and if there’s somebody out there who could resonate with what it is that you’re doing and could benefit from it, but they don’t know that you guys exist, then.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s just, it’s just a shame. So yeah, anyone out there listening you know, please help spread the message about organizations like this Warrior Surf Foundation because that’s how change is going to happen, is by actually having people involved in the program. So, yeah, definitely get people out there and talking about it you know, view.

Scott DeLuzio: Like this episode, if you think that something that was said in this episode would resonate with someone, share it with somebody else and let them know. And that way this message can continue to be spread and more people will learn about what it is at worst or foundation is [00:37:00] doing.

Scott DeLuzio: One other question I had as far as the program goes. Where is the program located? And how do people get to the the location where you guys are having the the surf in and everything else that you guys are doing?

Stephanie Dasher: So right now our 12 week program is based out of Folley Beach, South Carolina.

Stephanie Dasher: We have a tremendous amount of people who come from landlocked areas, other parts of the country. We’re working to try to figure out how to house those people. A lot of the times we’re figuring it out on their own. We are trying to find a way that we can help them cover costs for housing. We’re not quite there yet.

Stephanie Dasher: And then the other thing that we do is we go to different places. So we went to New Jersey. This. August. And we have other veterans groups that will come to us. So we’ll run. We’re gonna do wounded Warrior Battalion from Fort Stewart in March, and we’ll bring them here for a [00:38:00] week and we’ll do a condensed version of the program.

Stephanie Dasher: So we’re trying to figure out ways to expand. Our hope is that we. I mean, I really hope that we can spread this around everywhere and a lot more surf therapy organizations crop up and start using these tools, whether that’s through chapters of ours or people who are, you know, have the heart to, to do this on

Scott DeLuzio: their own.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, that’s excellent and I’m glad that this organization is growing and that there are people who are benefiting from this, from all over the country. I think it’s a great thing that you guys are doing and I really applaud the efforts that, that everyone over there is doing. So, Stephanie, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today.

Scott DeLuzio: I’m really glad to be able to chat with you about Warriors Foundation, find out all the, that there is that you guys do and I’m really interested to see where this goes in the future. So thank you.

Stephanie Dasher: Thank [00:39:00] you.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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