Alumni Programs

More Opportunities for Long-term Growth and Connection

We are pleased to offer Built for More experiences to our WQW Alumni Warriors. We look forward to welcoming past participants into cohorts that will embark on this journey of self-discovery and growth. In addition, WQW Alumni have the opportunity to apply to limited stand-alone programs such as the Couples’ and Photography Experiences.​

Our program application is currently closed.

If you would like to be among the first to know when our 2025 application becomes available, please join our monthly Alumni Newsletter. Alumni on our newsletter list will be notified when our application period opens in the fall of 2024.


Built for More

If you thought your first FX was transformative, buckle up for Built for More—a life-changing expedition into both nature and self, from which no participant emerges the same. Through outdoor pursuits, supportive comrades, and an online personal growth program, our newest, most comprehensive offering guides you to your own definition of “living better.” Over six months to a year with a tight-knit cohort and an expert-informed facilitator, Built for More will lead you to deeper connection to yourself, your people, and your purpose.

Initial Fishing Experience (5 days in-person)

Discovery Phase (virtual)

Capstone Fishing Experience (5 days in-person in 2023 or 2024)

Initial Fishing Experience (5 days in-person)

Phase 1: Initial Fishing Experience

Wherever you are in life, the Initial Fishing Experience (FX) gives you a break from it—and that strengthens you to make meaningful changes. In this weeklong journey, nature inspires, recreation grants perspective, and newfound comrades buoy your spirits, solidifying intentions and recruiting accountability buddies for the road ahead


  • Learn a new skill that provides a safe haven for your mind and spirit—for life

  • Find even deeper meaning in your service, and consider the future with distance and new perspective

  • Discover or renew your relationship to nature as a source of relaxation and clarity

  • Grow trust and spark lifelong, mutually supportive healthy friendships

Discovery Phase (virtual)

Invigorated from the Initial Fishing Experience (FX), you’ll begin the Discovery Phase. Over six to twelve months online, you’ll video conference with your small cohort and facilitator, working together through concepts geared to recalibrate your life’s trajectory. Informed by experts and supported by your cohort, you’ll follow our structured process to build your version of a better life from the ground up.


  • Cement habits to improve your health in every area—mind, body, and spirit

  • Refine strategies to meet and exceed your basic needs so you can focus on personal growth

  • Build deeper community within your cohort, creating a support team for ongoing improvement

  • Identify your meaningful purpose and create a plan to actualize it

  • Click HERE to view an example Schedule

Capstone Fishing Experience (5 days in-person in 2023 or 2024)

Phase 3: Capstone Fishing Experience (FX)

Once again, your cohort unites—and in each other, you’ll see the changes. More alive, more grounded, and more connected to what (and who) matters most, transformed Warriors gather in nature to honor the journey and commit wholly to the path ahead. It’s the last phase of Built for More—and the first phase of your recalibrated life.


  • Reunite with your cohort face to face, solidifying your new second family of support

  • Relax into nature, refreshing your sense of possibility

  • Sharpen your skills for maintaining healthy outdoor pursuits at home

  • Celebrate the hard work and the big changes together, growing your conviction to keep leveling up

Other Alumni Programs

Hunt for Purpose

Couples FX

Photography Experience

Hunt for Purpose

Hunt for Purpose is an intensive, 6-month pursuit to plan, prepare for, and execute a successful archery hunt in Montana’s backcountry. Participants will gain in-depth knowledge and experience in archery hunting, all while embarking on a journey to cultivate their purpose through WQW's Built for More curriculum.


  • Discover strengths and passions that point you to your larger purpose
  • Learn holistic wellness (mental, physical, and spiritual)
  • Achieve and sustain meaningful connections with the other Warriors, staff, and volunteers

Couples FX

The Couples FX brings six couples together who often share common experiences. WQW created the Couples FX recognizing that there are unique challenges in post-combat relationships. On a Couples FX, Warriors and their partners get to spend uninterrupted days on the water, nurturing their relationships and learning new skills together. For those with children, WQW pays for the cost of a trusted friend or family member to provide in-home childcare while the couple is away.


  • Create a safe, supportive environment where couples find peace and connection
  • Provide tools and confidence to participate in a new shared activity
  • Provide a new way for couples to bond and relax together

Photography Experience

The Photography Experience (PX) gives Warriors the opportunity to explore the art of photography while being present for multiple WQW programs. Warriors attend the PX in the pursuit of discovering or enhancing their level of photography under the tutelage of WQW photographer and former Combat Correspondent SGT Mike MacLeod. The Warriors will receive instruction in photography basics, landscape, and human portraiture. At the conclusion of the week, they will combine all elements learned to produce a final project photo. Through this process, they will engage with the group of six Warriors in a shared activity that they will take home and either pursue personally or professionally. The PX does not end with one week-long experience in Montana though. These Warriors will travel back to Montana up to three different times the following season to shoot a WQW program and apply their newfound or enhanced skills in photography to capture other Warriors and supply them with priceless memories of their time at WQW.


  • Provide a renewed sense of purpose, identity, and values

  • Teach participants the art of photography from a professional and enable them to continue this art upon returning home

  • Create an enhanced sense of community through lasting, meaningful connections found in a common pursuit and growth in a network of other professional photographers

  • Newfound or enhanced skill and confidence in photography that can be applied anywhere personally or professionally

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Volunteer as an Alum

Give back to the WQW community in a fulfilling way by volunteering as an alumni. We encourage all alumni to return to serve as a Companion, Mom/Dad, Team Lead or Assistant Team Lead, or in some other capacity.

Learn More About Volunteering

Participant FAQs

Yes, Quiet Waters Ranch is accessible for people with disabilities. We work to accommodate all disabilities to the fullest extent possible. Our staff, guides, and volunteers are well-versed at accommodating various types of disabilities and conditions (including those who are visually and audibly impaired) to ensure a positive and rewarding experience.

Yes. WQW has a service dog acknowledgment and agreement that allows service dogs to go fishing with participants.

Yes! Everything from clothing to equipment is yours to keep. Our goal is to set you up with everything you need so you can continue to tap into your new skills independently without gear as a barrier.

No, you DO NOT have to be a Purple Heart recipient to qualify for our programs.

WQW has an active zero alcohol policy on all experiences.

Built for More discusses spiritual fitness, not religion. Essentially, there’s space in our program to incorporate any spiritual practices that contribute to your growth. We do not take or encourage any particular religious stance (including being religious at all), and we ask that you respect religious differences across your cohort.

Absolutely. WQW strives to build long-term relationships with our participants and we are always looking to have you return for more experiences or as a volunteer. However, Warriors who attend their first experience are not guaranteed an invitation to return for future programs.

Yes, there is wifi and cell phone service at the ranch so that participants can connect with their loved ones as needed while they’re away. However, the ranch is an ideal place to take a break from your devices and reconnect with yourself and your community. We highly recommend being fully present as much as possible for this one-of-a-kind experience.

While we relied on experts to develop our program, it is completely non-clinical and non-medical. That said, we support Warriors in getting all the care they need, and you’ll continue your existing care during the program. If therapy or psychiatric care is something you choose to start during the program, we’re happy to make recommendations for veteran-focused organizations.

These proven expeditions are still the bookends to Built for More—but now, there’s an essential new program in between. Over the years, Warriors were impressed with how these reflective outdoor adventures could serve as a turning point in their lives but requested more guidance for making long term changes. Built for More answers that call with a structured, expert-driven program that still relies heavily on those original excursions.

There are still a number of shorter specialty programs for alumni, but all first-time Warriors now start with Built for More.

View an example Built for More schedule HERE

Built for More is a program we developed ourselves, rooted in in-depth research, evidence-based expertise in wellness and psychology, and our own years of experience. It’s structured to be challenging, but not overwhelming, as you dive into self-exploration, identify areas of growth, and develop healthy habits. You can expect elements of video, facilitated group discussion, reflection, and skill development exercises.

WQW programs are at no cost to the participant including paid-for air travel to Montana, comfortable lodging and home-cooked meals, professional instruction, and gear for trip’s activities.

WQW is committed to objectivity when reviewing applications. This thorough screening process requires confirmation of participation in combat operations, either through the receipt of combat awards or proof of service in a location in which you received Imminent Danger Pay.

Please include your service record (DD214 Member-4, ERB, ORB, BIR, BTR, etc.). We recognize that service records are confidential and are stored securely.

Check the following locations on your DD214 to ensure eligibility (only one of the following requirements must appear):

•Block 13: Decorations Medals, Badges, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons (check the continuation page for overflow of Block 13 information).

•Block 18: Remarks. This is where you will find information about receiving Imminent Danger Pay.

If you do not see confirmation of participation in combat operations on your DD214, or if you are currently Active Duty and do not possess a DD214, please provide any official documentation of combat related service. This can include, but is not limited to:

•Award Citations for Combat Awards (ie. Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon/Badge/Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with "V" device, etc.)

•Service Record (which clearly indicates combat service and/or deployment information)

**If you do NOT possess any of the above documentation, but think you still qualify, let us know why in your application!

Currently, we’re focused on making our programs richer and more effective for the same number of veterans annually. For now, we aim to grow in impact, not size, working hard to offer transformative experiences to roughly 300 veterans a year.