In Autumn 2023 Wild Bear Lodge will run its second week-long wilderness veterans programme and its first specifically designed for those who have been wounded or injured on the battlefield in Ukraine.
The aim of the programme will be to give wounded vets wilderness skills that will help them to safely and confidently pursue outdoor and nature-based activities back in their home country.
The programme will encourage participants to pass on the skills they have learned, and set up volunteer associations that promote and organise outdoor activities for other wounded vets.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of time spent in nature and pursuing outdoor activities for those suffering physical and mental trauma.
Julius, the owner of Wild Bear Lodge, moved to the wilderness in 2006 as a way of dealing with his own demons after 15 years working on the world’s frontlines as a war reporter.
He recently travelled to Kyiv in Ukraine to meet wounded veterans and the medical professionals who are helping them recover.
This programme will be run in association with the Mindy Foundation, a Kyiv-based charity that helps injured veterans with physical and mental therapy and prosthetics.
Taras, who runs Mindy on a non-profit basis with his partner Bohdan, has met with Julius in both London and Kyiv and they talk regularly to ensure that the programme is best tailored to the evolving needs of those it aims to support.
Wild Bear Vets 2021 was largely funded by the Invictus Games Foundation. Wild Bear Vets 2023 will be partially funded by Wild Bear Lodge, which will contribute C$25,120 (about GBP 15,700) in cash and kind. The rest will be financed with funds raised from donors.
If you wish to contribute towards the cost of this project, please use the Crowdfunder link below or if you wish to become a sponsor (C$1,000+) then please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Please note that if for any reason this project is postponed – the war in Ukraine being at unpredictable thing – the funds raised will be rolled into a 2024 vets programme at Wild Bear Lodge. Any donations above and beyond those needed to run this programme will also be put towards helping wounded Ukrainian veterans.)