Participants will hike approximately 150 miles, along the Colorado Trail, beginning in Breckenridge, Colorado. While hiking the trail, participants will camp in secluded areas of the trail that will allow for the calming beauty of nature to help them decompress their stress and develop coping methods to ease the stressors from their careers. Along the way, the group will stop in nearby towns to resupply with food and participate in other activities including river rafting, train rides through the countryside and other fun social events to allow the group to connect with each other and build a support network of others who understand and who are also suffering from ASD and PTSD.
Badges & Backpacks’ goal is to sponsor 10 first responders to participate in a Colorado Trail Expedition, with plans to grow the program in the future. In order to reduce any barriers for our participants, Badges and Backpacks will supply all necessary equipment and supplies needed for the expedition. This will include items to hike, camp, raft, fish, and a monetary stipend for food/town activities. Participants will be allowed to keep all the equipment received from Badges and Backpacks to promote personal future activities within nature therapy. Participants will be expected to arrange their own travel to and from the beginning point of the expedition. Volunteers will be available along the trail to facilitate activities and to ensure all participants are taken care of accordingly.
At the conclusion of the Colorado Trail Expedition applicants will be encouraged to share their experience of the trail with other first responders. Our ultimate goal would be for participants to understand the importance of decompressing from their stressful positions and to have the tools to continue using nature therapy as a method to cope with ASD and PTSD.