Story and photos by Geoffrey Roper
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff recently created a program called Warrior Adventure Quest, which takes Soldiers on all-day physical activities as part of their reintegration program after coming home from deployment.
There are a number of activities the program offers including rock climbing, paintball, white-water rafting, hiking and zip lining, skiing and snowboarding. These activities offer Soldiers a positive release of energy at a time when they might be vulnerable to harmful behavior.
“The idea is to make them aware, and make available to them, this program that provides activities that can give them
a little bit of (an) adrenaline rush,” said Eric Hill, outdoor recreation director, Fort Carson DFMWR. “It’s letting them know that there are healthy ways to get the adrenaline without going out and getting on a motorcycle and driving 120 mph
or doing other things that are unhealthy.”
Hill said the program came out of a recreation conference attended by behavioral health experts who came up with the concept. While discussing how it could be implemented, a group from the outdoor recreation department was in the audience and realized they already had the resources and activities in place.
“With all the deployments and the stress that puts on the Soldiers and their Families, being able to provide these recreation programs and just give them a (few) hours of release where they’re doing something different, it takes their minds off the day-to-day (troubles). Whether that’s their combat experience, or worrying about their spouse or parent that might be deployed, there’s a lot of value in that. So it’s good that we’re able to provide all these programs and opportunities,” said Hill.
Soldiers from Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, took part in a day of paintball April 14.
It was a chance for them to go out and have some fun after coming back from Iraq just six months ago.
“Honestly, it’s like a big morale booster. Guys just let their hair down … here, everybody can just play, just be kids you know, and they’re enjoying it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Porfirio Avila, 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Reg., 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
The all-day event is free to these Soldiers, and the hope is that they will sign up for other activities available to them while back home.
“One of the desired outcomes is that they’ll enjoy what they are doing,” Hill said. “They get this free, full-day program and they enjoy it. They realize it would be great to get out and do these things, and they want to share that with their Families. We have programs on the weekends and during the week available where they can bring their Families.”.
To date, the department has put on approximately 40 different programs for 60 platoons, with more activities planned through September.
“I have seen here at Fort Carson that there’s a great team that really puts a lot into making those reintegrations happen, and make them as beneficial as possible for the returning Soldiers,” said Hill. “It’s one piece of the puzzle. It’s just another tool that leadership has to let them know their leaders care about them, and they’re trying to do the things they can to help them adjust.”
The activities are open to all active-duty, guard and reserve units. For more information, unit leaders can call 526-3881.