Project Sanctuary's greatest strength is our dedicated staff, who are the driving force behind our amazing therapeutic retreats and family support program. That's why we are so pleased to continue our Staff Spotlight series, highlighting the incredible team members who are serving our military families day in and day out.
Today, we will be highlighting Vaughn Badenhorst, a Project Sanctuary Retreat Manager and Marine Corps Veteran.
Tell us how you first heard about Project Sanctuary.
I first learned about Project Sanctuary working as a Financial Advisor with First Command. First Command was a long-time partner with Project Sanctuary, facilitating the financial session at retreats. Four years ago, the stars aligned, and I was able to attend my first Project Sanctuary in the Money Matters role. You can say it was love at first sight. I ended up doing two retreats in a 6-week period and then spoke with Missy (Chief Program Officer) and Heather (Founder & CEO) about becoming a Retreat Manager.
What is it that you do at Project Sanctuary?
My role with Project Sanctuary is as the Retreat Manager. My duties are to help make sure the retreat runs as smoothly as possible by working with the CTRSs, Counselors, Staff, and Volunteers. I also try to ensure that the Staff, Volunteers, and Families know where they need to be through the retreat and get anything that is needed. If there are any issues or concerns that are brought up, I make sure that it is handled appropriately.
What is your most meaningful experience with Project Sanctuary?
This is a hard one, as each retreat is so rewarding in its own way. It was my first full year as Retreat Manager, and we had a retreat up in Sandy Cove, Maryland. We had a Korean War Vet there with his Daughter. He was confined to a wheelchair but had such a great attitude. One of the highlights of Sandy Cove is the 1-mile hike to the lighthouse. Since he was confined to a wheelchair, all the staff, volunteers, and families took turns pushing and even carrying this Veteran all the way to the lighthouse. It was such a beautiful moment that confirmed why we do what we do. His daughter was in tears because he was not left out, and we all worked hard to make sure he was included and was able to watch that gorgeous sunset. Not many places on the East Coast where you can watch the sunset over the ocean.
When you aren't serving military families at retreats, what do you like to do?
I enjoy spending time in the mountains, building things, and doing art projects.
Fun facts about Vaughn!
- Immigrated from South Africa in 1976.
- Married 29 1/2 years, has 4 children, and 2 grandchildren.
- Once had both a pet Alaskan Timber Wolf & a Cougar.
Thank you, Vaughn, for sharing your story with us! We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful retreat manager working with our military families across the country.