Sierra Club Outdoors

Testimonials

For 7 days, the Boston Basin became my home. It welcomed me with frustration, exhaustion, and more than my share of bruises. The mountain took every opportunity to test my physical strength and psychological vulnerabilities.

Every night, defeated, I sat under the stars wondering why I took on this journey. Every morning the crisp air of the sunrise reminded me why.

Life gets complicated after deployment. Every day for almost a year, I left a piece of myself in the mountains of Afghanistan.  In that void, the sight, smell, and sounds of war followed me home. I thought that I was climbing the North Cascades make a film. But that's not why the mountain called my name.

The mountain wanted to return something to me that was left behind on a battlefield on the other side of the world...

My peace. My purpose. My sanity.

Words cannot express how thankful I am to the Sierra Club Outdoors and Adventure Film School for giving me the opportunity to heal the wounds of war through fun, friendship, and filmmaking.There is no better place to clear you mind than being in the great outdoors.

If you can't see the forest through the trees, then get above the tree line.

Elle Hansen, OIF, OEF Veteran

The veteran film school was an extraordinary experience - top to bottom for me.  I learned a helluva lot about both filmmaking and climbing - not to mention PACKING! 

- Ben Patton

I figured the adventure film course in the northern Cascades would be great because, really, how could it not be? A week of alpine climbing with other vets while learning how to make movies. But I wasn't expecting the days to be as amazing as they were, or that I'd learn as much as I did, about alpine climbing, film making, and the experiences and perspectives of others on the trip.

- Brian Mockenhaupt, OIF Veteran, Journalist

From Our Blog

1 month 1 week ago
Today we're proud to present the last of three essays from a summer ICO trip out to Aspen, Colorado:   Last year I recall coming home with the news that the Sierra Club was giving a couple of Pritzker students the opportunity to attend one of their multi-day outdoor trips. I never...
1 month 3 weeks ago
We are excited to share Alexis Sotelo's moving essay about her experience, also in Aspen, Colorado where she was part of an Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) service trip. Thanks to both Aaron and Alexis for sharing their thoughts with the world! Hello my name is Alexis and I attended the...
1 month 3 weeks ago
We're excited to share with you a short essay one of our fantastic ICO participants wrote about a recent outdoor service trip. Many thanks to Aaron Rivera--both for helping to make the Aspen area a better place with your service, and for the essay! Aspen, Colorado service trip Aspen, Colorado...
2 months 3 hours ago
Following up on four nights and three days of an incredibly powerful conference: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature’s Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families, is no easy task. I am also privileged to try and find a way to incorporate...
2 months 3 hours ago
Following up on four nights and three days of an incredibly powerful conference: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature’s Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families, is no easy task. I am also privileged to try and find a way to incorporate...