Heroes on the Water helps our nation’s warriors and veterans decompress from the stresses associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation. The organization serves 29,619 warriors and family members and has reduced overall stress by 56%. In particular, it helps veterans unwind using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing is in fact something much deeper and long-lasting.
Founded in 2007, the program’s unique kayak fishing program allows the participants a chance to decompress from the stresses associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation. Warriors enjoy these benefits while on guided fishing trips held in local communities around the country.
Participants receive basic kayak fishing and paddling instruction, angling clinics and paddling classes for participants with skill sets ranging from beginners to the most experienced paddlers.
The program also assists these personnel in adapting these newly developed skills to their new abilities. Adaptive kayaks, kayaking accessories and angling equipment is offered on an as needed basis to accommodate a soldier’s particular needs.
The program promotes kayak fishing as a long-term activity, not a one-time event. It believes that the effectiveness of the program is a direct result of engaging the wounded military personnel for the long-term.
One soldier, at the Center for the Intrepid, called what the program does “Triple Therapy” or “all at once therapy.” On post he has to go to the gym for physical therapy, then go upstairs for his occupational therapy, and then go to the psychologist for mental therapy. With kayak fishing he gets it all at once – physical therapy from paddling and fishing, occupational therapy learning a lifetime sport/activity, and mental therapy from relaxing in nature with no distractions or expectations of performance.
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