The Warrior’s Keep: Easing the Transition of Being a Soldier to Civilian One Mountain at a Time

“Veterans are trained to go to war but never trained to come back home”

Founded in 2016 as an outlet for Veterans to overcome adversity through outdoor recreation, The Warrior’s Keep provides unique opportunities for our military heroes. The mission of the McKinney-based non-profit organization is to unite, empower and enhance the quality of life for Veterans with the use of Outdoor Therapy. Their programs provide Veterans with free access to outdoor activities, designed to educate and assist with the difficulties of reintegrating back to civilian life. The goal of The Warrior’s Keep is to fill a part of every Veteran’s life that was left behind when they leave active duty. The sense of purpose and camaraderie felt when serving is the driving force behind The Warrior’s Keep. Outdoor therapy has been shown to improve quality of life and allow Veterans the opportunity to process and reflect on their experiences in a positive environment.

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Adam Earls, a Veteran of the USMC, The Warrior’s Keep has implemented numerous programs to support local men and women as they return from service. They provide top-notch expedition experiences through their O.A.T.H. program which was designed to establish a sense of purpose and increase the quality of life. The program includes Veteran-led small group discussions regarding the difficulties of social reintegration, military transition, and other important topics. The Warrior’s Keep also utilizes hiking, climbing, and camping trips to reach Veterans and assist in their journey.

Mark Sanderson, an Army Veteran who serves as the organization’s Director of Operations, was recruited for his position after joining The Warrior’s Keep as a participant. Mark stated, “I went on a trip in 2017 and by the end of the trip I was offered the position of Program Manager. The Warrior’s Keep is great about supporting the members of the group and finding them opportunities within the organization or help with achieving new career goals”.

The group typically goes on around a dozen trips including 200-300 Veterans per year. This year they have even included a Wilderness First Responder Training component to their program in partnership with Collin College and a VA Grant which will enable 15 Veterans to complete the National Outdoor Leadership School course.

This Spring The Warrior’s Keep will be holding an Urban Adventure Race in McKinney as a fundraiser for their upcoming expeditions. This exciting “Amazing Race” style event will start at TUPPS Brewery and take participants on a scavenger hunt of obstacles through the city. They also plan to host a music festival to raise awareness and support for the organization.

For more information on how you can support or join this local charity contact Mark Sanderson at Mark@thewarriorskeep.org

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