Inside The Station Foundation
Greetings from the Summer edition of SITREP, your window to The Station’s ongoing endeavors and transformative impacts. For thirteen years The Station has helped preserve the health and wellness of the Special Operations Forces (SOF). Through mindfulness exercises and evidence based practices we continue to help the SOF Community heal from the impacts of combat, improve their personal well-being, and increase self awareness.
The Station’s team, participants, and facilitators continue to be awe inspiring in building our programs into something exceptional. Join us on this journey of growth and empowerment. Dive deeper into each section below and explore the enriching experiences we offer our SOF Spouses through the Interwoven program at our ever-expanding outStations.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all who have contributed and continue to show up again and again. As always, reach out to us for more information.
Wishing you well on your journey.
The Station Foundation
@ The Station’s HQ, Bozeman, Montana
By: Kevin Stacy (Executive Director)
Summer is always a special time at Base Camp Jimmy. We thaw out from long winters and dust off our survival skills while enjoying the beauty under our Big Sky. This was an especially meaningful summer at The Station as we celebrated our 10th anniversary of THE CROSSING!
THE CROSSING has always been a powerful experience that guides our Gold Star Students as they navigate unfamiliar terrain. Teammates care for the Legacies of our Fallen through coaching and mentorship that help students realize their personal strengths, character, and full potential. While none of us replace the Fallen, THE CROSSING presents a sacred opportunity for teammates to honor those that no longer walk among us. It provides time for service members to care for the Children of the Fallen and build a support system for them to lean on as they mature into adulthood.
Over ten years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to watch Gold Star Students arrive in Montana as strangers, only to leave as family. It’s special to witness growth as it unfolds and be present when students journey beyond their comfort to cross big moments in their life. THE CROSSING is the journey itself. It’s where service members cross from teammate to mentor. It’s where pain crosses into purpose, removing our suffering from the absence of those that matter most. It’s a space where we get to live for something bigger than any of us. It is an opportunity to explore new ideas, step beyond comfort, and find a home to belong. Often, it is here where students cross personal limits and thresholds.
While Montana shapes these events, the magic lies within the people. Of all the important aspects of THE CROSSING, my personal favorite is witnessing students care for each other…just like their Dads did for their teammates. As older kids mature and grow beyond the daily tasks at camp, they find a beautiful opportunity to lead and serve. Those that return become the gatekeepers of this magic, preserving the culture of character and belonging. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you can start a fire. It matters what type of fire burns within and how you harness your very best. Our returning students take pride in ensuring new members of our Family allow their light to shine.
Those who have had the honor of walking amongst these amazing students know this: our Fallen are honored; our Survivors are loved; and our Community shines in their light. While many of us fought in darkness, it is this light that truly guides us home.
@ The Station’s HQ, Bozeman, Montana
By: Sebastian Karuza (Assistant Property Manager)
I’d like to start by saying, it was an honor and a privilege to help support the first RESTORE program of the summer and my first-ever RESTORE program here at The Station. It was amazing to see the program unfold and watch the whole group quickly form into a supportive and accepting tribe. It was truly inspiring to watch the kids and dads as they navigated white water rafting, summited a mountain, and spent multiple days out in the woods. Most impressive, was watching service members introduce the tactical aspects of SOF to their children in a kind, patient, and compassionate way.
The lessons taught by Rawhide (our survival instructor), their dads, and the staff of The Station are all clear, survival requires as much character as it does competence. The legendary CW4(R) Randall “Rawhide” Wurst is a big kid at heart. Rawhide is seriously lighthearted with a knack for drawing students into his survival lessons through masterful story telling. Few people can get kids to explore the woods with no technology like Rawhide. It isn’t long after their first lesson with Randy that campers’ devices are forgotten and exploration has begun.
One of the most extraordinary moments of the trip was watching the campers character in action when we got caught in an afternoon snowstorm in the middle of June. Instead of dampening the mood, it heightened the excitement of the hike/ mission for the kids and their dads. Smiles were prominent from the crew that made the summit, and even for those who didn’t make it to the summit, there were many positive lessons learned along the way.
Time and again, we saw how quickly this group of strangers turned into a supportive team of rockstars. Whether that was encouraging each other to get into the frigid temps of the Yellowstone River or push up one more hill of the mountain to have a snack break. Even around Base Camp Jimmy, you can see how the kids start to encourage and support each other in the little things, from helping clean up after meals, trying new activities, working on art projects, and ensuring inclusivity in whatever yard games are happening. You watch dads support one another, look after one another’s kids, fill in knowledge gaps, and always demonstrate positivity for their kids to hear.
The impact from their short time out here, I’m sure, is immeasurable. I am honored to support them in the ways that I did. Families pushed their limits and were put out of their comfort zones, leading them to learn many hard lessons. This is an experience that I am sure all these young men and women who attended will remember and reflect on as they continue their journey into becoming awesome adults.
@ Bird Shoals Island, Beaufort, North Carolina
The Station invited attendees to search for the hidden treasures of Bird Shoals Island by Hunting for the Good. This experience is designed to reignite the flames of connection in relationships, prompting participants to embark on a journey of introspection. Participants then share their sentiments with their partner amidst the island’s tranquil beauty.
Leading up to the event, couples were encouraged to engage in five days of private journaling, capturing a positive sentiment about their partner. As the island’s embrace welcomed them, these heartfelt sentiments transformed into a bridge, fostering open and meaningful conversations that celebrated the strengths of their relationship.
Couples participated in guided mindfulness meditation before departure from the mainland to Bird Shoals Island via boat taxi. Amidst the island’s unspoiled wonders, they had the freedom to collect seashells, encounter wild horses, engage in whispered conversations, and be present with one another. A participant enthused, “We had the best time today, some really great communication breakthroughs, maybe the being in nature thing works.”
Amidst this tapestry of connection, each couple received a document titled “Enhance Your Love Maps,” inspired by John Gottman’s work. It unveiled a trio of exercises – the Love Maps Question Game, Asking Open-Ended Questions, and Who Am I? – fostering deeper insights into each other. Couples departed the island with this compass and a trove of resources, ready to continue their journey long after their time at the
island. A husband shared, “The drive was actually great for us. We really enjoyed the time here and all the activity from the week.”
To those seeking the path of rediscovery, the Hunting for the Good event offers a roadmap where couples can find their voices and where intimacy is nurtured amidst nature’s beauty. The island and the event are not merely destinations but arenas of growth where relationships flourish and bonds are strengthened. If you and your spouse are ready to embark on the next chapter of your journey, then this event is meant for you. The Station’s Hunting for the Good is where love and connection intertwine in the most exquisite of ways.
Participants in the Hunting for the Good session at Bird Shoals Island. “That was really amazing. I wish I could have stayed there longer. That’s my happy place now.”
Interwoven for Families
This summer, families in Virginia Beach have been gathering for Interwoven events focused on intention setting, healthy communication, and strength spotting. Nothing feeds the hunger for connection in a more powerful and practical way than the shared act of cooking and eating together. Cooking together communicates to children in a way words cannot. By sharing the kitchen, parents can communicate to children the essential messages for fostering solid and healthy relationships.
Food is a language anyone can understand, and cooking with children gives parents a voice to communicate safety, love, and encouragement. In early July, SOF families gathered at a local peach orchard to spend the morning engaged in quality time together. Families completed a mindful peach eating activity, fed farm animals, and played on the playground. It was a morning to practice being present and fully engaged with one’s family. Later in the month, six pairs of spouses and teens participated in a Mediterranean-style cooking workshop and made a four-course meal together. Participants received Parent/Teen journals for sharing and encouraging communication.
With a creative twist on sharing our strength spotting curriculum, The Station offered “Dinosaurs in the Garden,” a morning program exploring the Norfolk Botanical Garden to learn about the plants and animals that are related to dinosaurs that live in the garden. Families made a small terrarium to house their air plants. Participants engaged in thoughtful discussion about the strengths and unique qualities of their favorite dinosaurs and then shifted their focus to reflect on their own personal character strengths. Families mapped the strengths of each family member and identified opportunities for children to use their strengths at home.
Strengths spotting enables a shift in family focus and attention from negative bias to positive sentiment override. Children with parents who help them identify and use their character strengths have greater confidence, persistence, life satisfaction, healthier friendships, and manage stressful situations with greater resilience.
Interwoven for Spouses
Mindfulness opportunities have pervaded the outStations events for Spouses this summer. From bread making to yoga to sound baths, Spouses have immersed themselves in events geared towards reducing stress and tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system.
Elevating Impact: A Glorious Evening at Eagle Cafe 2023
On June 3, 2023, amidst the tranquil charm of St. Bride’s Farm in Upperville, VA, The Station’s second annual Eagle Cafe Fundraiser unfolded. This occasion resonated with the spirit of unity, generosity, and shared purpose. The extraordinary performances of Thompson Square and Ben Gallaher transformed the night into an artistic spectacle that struck chords in every heart present.
Guests enjoyed the beautiful horizon brightened by the Callaway Classics car show. Glasses brimmed with Oceano wine or the signature Monster cocktail, and plates loaded with delicious offerings of barbecue, mac and cheese, and an unforgettable apple pie by Mission BBQ. The generosity of these sponsors helped make the evening a wonderful time to share stories among guests.
The night began with profound words from Kevin, our Executive Director, and stories of courage and resilience shared by The Station’s alumni. The highlight of the evening arrived with performances by Thompson Square and Ben Gallaher. Each note sounded their commitment to our cause, and we extend heartfelt gratitude to them and all the other sponsors who supported the evening.
The funding raised at this event will enable the expansion of our staff and increase the offerings at our outStations in Virginia Beach, San Diego, Fort Liberty, and Camp Lejeune. These efforts will go even further, enriching our core programs that foster growth through innovative approaches.
Thanks for Supporting
The Station Foundation!
You provide the crucial stop on the journey home. Your generosity pays for the Special Operations Community – Warriors, Spouses, Children, Gold Star Children, and Mentors – to attend our world-class in-person and virtual programs.
People like you have impacted more than 1,200 families since 2012, serving over 200 families per year and growing.