Several months ago, MVA joined forces with the Benjamin Ware Legacy Fund – o2 Project, a Canadian initiative to designate the second Saturday in June as Veteran Get Outside Day. MVA representatives drafted a resolution and worked with Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. and Representative Garrett Graves to make this a reality. On May 31, the U.S. Senate approved the resolution designating June 10, 2023 as “Veterans Get Outside Day”. The resolution encourages a targeted outreach program to urge Veterans to participate in outdoor activities on that date.
The resolution is the part of an effort by Military-Veterans Advocacy (MVA) and the Canadian o2 Project to encourage those living with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury,
depression, and anxiety to participate in outside events and activities to improve mental health outcomes.
“This is a great opportunity for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury to go outside
and benefit from the calming effects of nature.” said Commander John Wells (US Navy retired), Chairman of MVA. “I
know when I was in the Navy it was always nice to go topside, breathe some salt air and watch a sunset. This program
will give folks an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and appreciate the world around us.”
“We owe it to the men and women who traveled oceans to protect us to address the veteran suicide crisis,” said Dr.
Cassidy. “Vets Get Outside Day is a positive step towards ensuring veterans know they have the help they need available
“Veterans Get Outside Day encourages Veterans to experience the outdoors and engage in recreational activities such as
hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting, and ultimately promote a passion for the outdoors. Studies show that nature-based
therapy can work,” said Representative Graves.
Rachel Ware, Executive Director of Legacy Fund noted: “The o2 Project – Get Outside Day initiative encourages people
worldwide to go outside and benefit from nature. Getting outside and reconnecting with nature has been proven to
reduce blood pressure, stress, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve our overall well-being. We are happy
to work with MVA to promote wilderness therapy and mental health among Veterans.”
“Our hope that if Veterans spend one day outdoors doing activities that help them relax and connect with nature, that
they will want to make it part of their regular routine,” Wells said. “With this in mind, we encourage everyone to “Take
10” minutes daily to get outside and do something to provide a break from daily stress.”
The Veterans Get Outside Day Joint Resolution encourages the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Forest Service, and
the Department of the Interior to coordinate and cooperate in promoting “Veterans Get Outside Day”. This designation
coincides with U.S. Forest Service National Get Outdoors Day.
Public events are planned June 10 at the USS Kidd Veterans Museum, 305 S. River Road, Baton Rouge Louisiana, from
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Fitzgerald Freedom Ranch, Columbia, Tennessee from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.