If you're given the option of sitting in a doctor's office for hours on end or getting outside and enjoying the fresh air while reaching the same goals, which are you gonna choose? That's the idea behind the Wounded Warrior Project's (WWP) Project Odyssey program.
Project Odyssey, named after Homer's epic about the long journey home for Odysseus' army following the Trojan war, is a 90-day mental health program that focuses on increasing the resilience and psychological well being of wounded warriors. It does so through adventure experiences like white water rafting and high ropes courses, along with months of follow-up. The goal is to show our wounded that they can do some of the same things they did before they were injured.
It falls under WWP's Combat Stress Recovery Programs, which are headed up by Army vet Ryan Kules, who lost his right arm and left leg to an IED in Iraq in 2005. Project Odyssey was not yet underway when Kules was going through his recovery, but he's seen the results through his oversight of the program. One thing he's very clear on is that the program isn't all fun and games.
"We do have a robust screening process before folks go out on Odyssey to make sure they're ready to work on themselves and really be able to put in the effort they need to in order to aid their own recovery. So we have a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work as well. And we certainly want to make sure the people that are there are ready to work and improve themselves," Kules says.
Project Odyssey includes programs for males, females and couples. Kules says anyone interested in the program can contact his team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can hear the full interview with WWP's Ryan Kules below.