At WQW, we know that engaging in outdoor recreation can be a powerful tool for guiding veterans and their families to thrive and find peace, meaning, and purpose.
Though I am not a veteran, I was drawn to the mission of WQW because spending time in nature has enabled me to find purpose.
Since I was a child, I have found excitement through bicycling. I remember riding my father’s old hybrid bike, a thirty-pound Trek that was older than I was when I first started road cycling - often riding on my own and figuring things out as I went along. I quickly became consumed by this new way of spending time in nature -enjoying speed, solitude, and the evolving challenge of more miles.
In college, I purchased a road bike of my own, ten pounds lighter than my dad’s old Trek. I finally had the right bike. Additionally, my freshman-year roommate Jake shared the same excitement for cycling. This was a turning point for me; I saw exponential growth in my time on my bike and miles covered. I had the right equipment and someone to push me and share my successes and challenges with.
We became more committed to cycling, riding at least 20 miles every morning and spending some weekends almost entirely on our bikes. This demanding, self-imposed cycling regiment quickly became a source of purpose. Eventually, our progress plateaued. Luckily, Jake's father was an experienced cyclist, and he provided us with much-needed advice on nutrition and gear that allowed us to continue to push ourselves further.
With the right gear, instruction, and someone to cycle with, I had the recipe for success. I began to thrive as a cyclist. Today, I continue to cycle as often as I can, and it has become one of my greatest sources of joy, pride, and purpose.
The power of spending time in nature as a tool for finding purpose is undeniable. Warriors & Quiet Waters provides a similar recipe for success by offering professional instruction, top-of-the-line gear, and a supportive environment of volunteers, other veterans, and family members. Despite the challenges of learning something new, the supportive environment minimizes struggles and amplifies success, providing an opportunity for veterans to find peace, meaning, and purpose. Our commitment to providing peak experiences in nature remains essential to our mission.
This blog post was written by Justin Kreis, WQW's Operations Lead. When not in the office, Justin can be found on his bike enjoying the many roads and trails that Southwest Montana has to offer.
To learn more about the power of purpose, read Reflection in the Mountains: How Hunt for Purpose Creates Purpose