I still recall the solace I found when I hooked a fish for the first time. The river basically saved my life – it was a sign to me to connect with the outdoors and to work to ensure that all people had access to our special wild rivers and lands.
Out of this healing experience, I became determined to bring inner city youth and veterans into the outdoors. While they share similar troubles, they have one important thing in common: the healing power of wild places. I founded the nonprofit Soul River Inc., through which I run outdoor educational trips to help at-risk youth and fellow veterans, and inspire new ambassadors of nature. Connecting with nature is a powerful outlet to reduce stress, find focus, sharpen self-awareness, embrace spirituality, and develop positive values beneficial to both the individual and community.
Getting outdoors onto protected, public lands inspires hope in our youth, our vets, and all of us. We need to protect the Owyhee River and surrounding Canyonlands for generations of today and tomorrow.