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The Sherpa of Souls WHY

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Author: Peter Alternative

Sherpa of Souls wants to take backcountry travel adventure as is offered widely by many great organizations like NOLS and transform what has been a transactional experience into a relationship. The goal would be to maintain the shared experience community outside the field with monthly meetings and annual retreats. This would be a community of confidentiality, compassion and accountability. We have been part of a peer support group for over 15 years and it has provided a constant stream of personal and professional development opportunities, along with a constant stream of inspiration. A safe place to be transparent, hear the truth and be held accountable by your peers.

We believe the time to further explore this idea is ideal. Why? The external environment appears to be ripe for such a transformation. Beyond the heightened need created by the COVID pandemic, the mental health epidemic in the US demands our attention. This epidemic is also being fed by the enormous amount of time spent online, particularly with younger generations. The research is still nascent but to date studies suggest the excessive time spent online ( 10-12 hours per day) is leading to depression and other types of mental illness. Interestingly, the pandemic helped drive more than 7 million more Americans into nature in 2020 than in previous years. The global climate crisis is another threat that occupies the headlines these days. In our experience those that recreate in the great outdoors tend to be more sympathetic and receptive to efforts to combat the crisis. Most importantly, there is a growing body of research that supports a relatively broad set of claims that time in wilderness offers many mental health benefits. More specifically, time in nature has been proven to provide the following mental health benefits:

· Improves cognitive function,

· Decrease mental distress,

· Decreases the trauma response,

· Increases positive social interactions, and

· Increase in happiness, subjective well-being and positivity.

I am hopeful to hear from people interested in our mission and vision. So, what is our mission and vision? Our mission is to share the restorative and transformative power of wilderness with as many people as we can. Our vision is to contribute to existing efforts to make time in wilderness part of the healthcare prescription for those suffering from mental illnesses. How we plan on doing this is by creating an enduring community of peers that unite to share a wilderness experience and learn both about themselves and how to practice replacing their worry with the wonder they experienced in the field outside the field through mindfulness training and participation in the SOS peer supported community. Our WHY is that we believe spending time in wilderness is the most compelling way to heal the world and our environment by promoting improved physical, mental and spiritual health; by creating social bonds amongst diverse groups to address both feelings of isolation exacerbated by COVID and our digital world, as well as, a heavily divided populace and by revaluing wilderness and a healthy environment to help combat our climate crisis. Our intention is to provide some level of financial support to make these types of experiences accessible to as many people as possible. These lofty goals and ambitions will require us to work with professional traversing many different areas of specialization including: mental health, mindfulness, outdoor guides, among others. As such, if you are a professional in any of these areas, please reach out to me if you have interest in being part of our envisioned future.

Thanks, Mr. SOS

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