Healing retreats, free medical transportation, referral and linkage services.
HBADK sponsored six healing retreats during the 2015 season. The first retreat was a family relaxation retreat held during the winter at Lake Clear Lodge. The intent of this weekend was for families to relax together and bond in a rustic setting while staying in small cabins surrounding a main lodge. Each family had their own cabin and activities over the weekend consisted of cross country skiing, snow shoeing, a visit to the VIC at Paul Smiths, downhill skiing and snowboarding at Big Tupper, the Wild Center and horse drawn sleigh rides through a lantern lit wooded trail. Relaxation and family bonding as well as group activities were the main drivers of the weekend and the retreat was filled with active duty soldiers and their families from Fort Drum. Other retreats included equine assisted PTSD work, hiking, canoeing, bon fires and team building exercises. Participants ranged from the Vet to Vet program in NYC to a women’s program for recovering substance abusing Veterans to a retreat held solely for the spouses of Veterans. Each retreat was designed to meet the needs of the participants with the main focus being on the healing properties of the Adirondacks. The participants in all the retreats reported high satisfaction with the events and many reported the weekend was a life changing experience for them. From the gratitude and enthusiasm expressed by all the retreats were deemed to be a huge success on all counts. The retreats were staffed by a variety of volunteers from the community including licensed social workers, Adirondack guides, massage therapists, certified child care workers, a PhD in Education and Communication, horse trainers and other local Veterans. Venues ranged from Pauls Smiths College to Camp Dudley in Westport NY. HBADK strives to provide quality retreats at little to no cost to the Veterans and looks to the community for volunteers, reduced rates from the venues and community donations. Our philosophy is to never turn down Veterans for lack of funds. We are hoping to sponsor 6-8 retreats during the 2016 season. Our first retreat is for Veterans and their spouses and was held at Camp Dudley on the weekend of May 20th.
HBADK was also active this year in providing free medical transportation to Veterans and their families. We did a number of local transports as well as providing transportation to Burlington and Albany. One of our transports resulted in the individual becoming an Intern for our organization through the Mission Continues Program. This is a six month fellowship that is providing assistance in manning our office, working on community collaborations and assisting with upcoming events.
HBADK has also been active in providing referral and linkage services to Veterans in the community. We were the first responders to a couple of homeless situations and we able to provide assistance within hours of receiving the call. HBADK worked closely with Family Champions in Tupper Lake as well as the North Country Chapter of Combat Veterans, the Ticonderoga Legion and the Tupper Lake Legion in moving three truck loads of furniture to a homeless Veteran with five children. Another family needed help two days before Christmas. By Christmas eve we had housing, food for a week, a Christmas tree, Christmas dinner and linkage to community services with a plan for the family to continue independently in the coming months. A number of Veterans organizations and Vets clubs in the region moved quickly to make this happen and put smiles on the faces of the children and the parents. This ability to move swiftly and provide timely assistance bridges the gap while we refer the families to needed services in the community. Our goal is to link the Veterans and their families to all available resources in the community and serve as a guide, a clearinghouse and a friendly face and helping hand to all Veterans.