First-Time Veteran Programs - Warriors & Quiet Waters
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Built for More

Matter even more.

As a post-9/11 combat service member, you made a difference — to your comrades, to your country, and to history.

And that’s just what you’ve done so far.

What’s next begins with Built for More — a life-changing expedition into nature and self.

This close-knit small-group program launches with an inspiring nature experience, spans months of expert-driven personal growth online, and wraps with a reunion of familiar faces where no participant is the same as before.

Challenging yet doable, with all costs covered, Built for More guides you to your next critical mission—finding a deeper connection to yourself, your people, and your purpose.

Create lasting change

Built for More is paced for real life. After a month-long online Preparation Phase, you’ll reserve a week at both the beginning and the end for an outdoor immersion experience. Between these two experiences, you and your cohort mates will navigate the online modules throughout the Discovery Phase, which each require only a few hours of dedicated effort each month. This work will stick with you, and you will find yourself pondering the topics during downtime and discussing the rest of your cohort in between lessons. For a closer look at the trajectory and pace of Built for More, check out the phase tiles below:

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

Back Country FX2023

Our program application is currently closed.

If you would like to be among the first to know when our 2025 application becomes available, please provide your contact information. We will get in touch with you via email in the fall of 2024 when our application period opens.

Get Notified

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Applications for our 2024 programs are now closed. Applicants will be assessed by their application submission responses. After review, finalist candidates will then be invited to participate in a phone call with a WQW staff member. Placement invitations will be extended in December 2023.
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We serve veterans who: ​

  • Are in transition, feeling stuck, or isolated.​
  • Are looking to make changes in their life to find purpose, meaning, and thriving.​
  • Are willing and able to commit to themselves and their cohort members, including dedicating time once per month to prepare for guided discussions and to meet online.​
  • Possess a strong commitment to discovering their purpose and designing a future that allows them to personally thrive and to impact others.​
  • Will actively participate in the Warriors & Quiet Waters Alumni network to exponentially increase engagement, connection, and national impact.

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.