My husband is usually anti anything that helps but he took the tools he learned and it has helped tremendously. Since the retreat we have learned to communicate better and actually listen to what our family members need. We no longer are trying to talk over each other but actually help each other more.
I would want those who support Project Sanctuary to know that they are not just supporting another run of the mill military organization. They truly care, have amazing staff who go above and beyond to learn everything they can about everyone they can at the retreats and help everyone get the most out of the retreats. Like they say you will get what you put into it and it has been life changing! Thank you for what you do!
Since the retreat, we have learned to really listen to each other, but to also give each other space. This is not the normal relationship that many families have, it is different and a learning experience that we continue to process through. I would want those who support Project Sanctuary to know how important their support is: they are offering families a great respite from their daily grind, they are offering families a place to network and find others who are facing similar situations and that they are not alone.
The staff and volunteers at Project Sanctuary are genuine people who care about our military families. They have stepped out on the battlefield with us to help us defeat our enemies of unhealthy marriages, ineffective communication, threats against our families, PTS(D), fear, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, etc. The knowledge & tools provided to us is invaluable and something that we can use for years to come. The added bonus is that the help doesn’t stop at the retreat. The services offered, knowledge and tools is ongoing for our families and that’s remarkable!
Like most families, I was able to volunteer at a retreat. Since I had a special set of skills, I was fortunate enough to become part of the Project Sanctuary Retreat Team. Once again I was faced with challenges in which I weren’t noticeable until after I have dealt with some other stuff. Project Sanctuary was there to provide to find a specialized addiction therapist to meet my current set of challenges. Project Sanctuary was also able to financial support to help get my addiction recovery going. Through my volunteer and paid work through Project Sanctuary I have experienced the unconditional love and support.
Thanks to some friends we found just the right avenue to pursue this goal. We applied and were accepted to a family retreat for Project Sanctuary, whose mission is to…provide therapeutic, curative, supportive and recreational activities to veterans, active military personnel, their spouses and children in a leisure environment. We are dedicated to providing a safe environment where individuals and their families who have been affected by their service in the military may spend both leisure and structured time with their families and fellow service members in an effort to diminish the wearisome impact of returning home after a considerable period away while serving the interests of the country.
It took a little getting used to for me, as I am not used to being on this side of things as a participant, but it turned out the entire retreat and this organization was just what we needed! One of the things Tyler and I tend to do that doesn’t fit well into our health and wellness model is focus all of our energy on others. This retreat however, forced us to focus on our needs and goals. We were able to reconnect in a stress-free environment, spend quality time doing things we love like mountain biking and shooting archery (I had a great time at this since I have NEVER been able to shoot a higher score than Tyler in ANYTHING related to shooting until this trip 🙂 ), tried new things together (Tyler hasn’t been around horses since he was a kid, but Brisby made sure to change that!), learned new skills, and found some new purpose in our heath and wellness journey.
All in all, we gained so much more from the week than we could have every expected, and for that we will be forever grateful to Project Sanctuary. This organization has not only allowed, but encouraged and supported us to hit our “reset” button and to be ok with taking some “us time”! Thank you for everything you have helped us achieve and we look forward to continuing to build on these opportunities!
I again cannot thank you enough for the hard work you and the other volunteers do for veterans through Project Sanctuary. It is without a doubt the most rewarding and helpful sessions I have ever attended and my family enjoyed. As I said before, what was really heartwarming to me was that there are still some people who really do care again. I can never thank you enough.
I was just looking to get a mostly free vacation in Colorado but we got much more. While there we met and worked with Heather Ehle, Missy, the Daubs, the Uteches and Pepe. We had fun and the kids enjoyed themselves with was very little fighting for a week. But it was not until I got home that what we learned and what I was really feeling was felt.
So, I went to the VA to get help and what do you know, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I never thought I would have PTSD. I was old, been there done that. I did not weigh how much living somewhere where someone is actively trying to kill you can effect your mind. That next year the family volunteered for the first time during the March retreat at Snow Mountain Ranch. Then, that October Missy called and asked if I could come up and run the kitchen. I’ve been doing that know for at least 12 retreats a year.
Through your program I’ve learned to understand that things happen beyond our control. I had to learn that in our marriage and now I am doing so much better. I even signed up to be a peer mentor with Project Sanctuary. That’s how good I’m doing now. Thank you all for what I have learned from the retreat with Project Sanctuary. Be blessed always.
Project Sanctuary helped us save our marriage and realize what’s really important in life. We no longer just go through the motions of the day we go through the days with purpose. Thank you Project Sanctuary we truly owe it all to you!
He used to be outgoing, funny, and sociable. But, he came back isolated, angry, moody, withdrawn. It affected our marriage, his relationship with friends and family, and most importantly our children. He was always used to putting on that poker face from the military. Looking and acting like things were okay, even if they weren’t. He was no longer able to do that. It was a tremendous daily stress on our family trying to adjust to our new normal. Military marriages and our own family go through a lot. The divorce rate is very high among military families for a variety of reasons. Then, you add the affects of combat with both visible and the invisible wounds.
Project Sanctuary is an organization that walks the walk and talks the talk. They gave us a part of our life back. They helped bring the joy back in our lives again. They gave the laughter back to my husband. The beautiful retreat took us away from daily life stressors. They let us simply concentrate by supplying you with love and support. They gave us information to take it from Post Traumatic Stress to Post Traumatic Growth.
The thing I love most about Project Sanctuary is that it includes the entire family. They realize that PTSD is a family issue and affects the entire family. If you only treat and teach the veteran the tools, then you’re setting that family up for failure. We are a team and it takes us both knowing what to do and how to deal with PTSD.
Heather, the founder, is amazing. She is in this for all the right reasons. She loves military families. Love and support was shown and felt by her and all of her staff. We are so much better after attending this retreat. It’s not a vacation. It’s work. You have to trust the process. You will get out of the retreat what you put into it. Be authentic and do the work. Don’t waste the gift of this retreat is.
I would tell a future Project Sanctuary family that the team is there to support you 100 percent. Project Sanctuary continues to pay it forward by making a difference in the lives of so many wounded warriors and their families. We are forever thankful and grateful for our Project Sanctuary family.
We honestly signed up for Project Sanctuary because of the VACATION! Well, at least that’s how I sold it to my family, and why I thought we were going. Before arriving we had been growing more detached, stressed, and less cohesive as a family, and I found myself saying, “I don’t have the time,” or “hurry up, we’re late, you’re out of time!” in most of our family interactions. To say it plainly we were a hot mess when we arrived.
At the retreat, we pressed pause as a family and confronted some hard truths about ourselves. It was at that moment that we realized the true mission of Project Sanctuary. You see, we were able to connect as husband and wife through the marriage seminar, take a real look at where we are financially, and learn some tools to help us when we returned to our lives.
Project Sanctuary helped us begin to heal as a family when we didn’t even realize the extent of our wounds. We had fun tubing, hiking, swimming, tumbling, making s’mores, and listening to one another. My children have memories that they still talk about today, and it fills me with joy to see the impact that a ‘vacation’ had on us. Because believe me when I say I did not leave Disneyland feeling this changed as a family.
At our retreat, we learned how important family was to us and not to avoid conflict but to deal with it effectively. We also learned some new personality traits, how ours differ and how we can approach each other based on our differences. Finally, we learned that stress is the number one hurdle in our life and we need do our best every day to manage it safely with the new tools we gained.
Well, obstacles got in my way and I was pregnant with my son William. At this point we requested financial assistance to get away and spend family time. The retreat was life changing. My family began talking to one another and we opened the line of communication. Project Sanctuary was just the beginning. Because of this retreat, we now take time as a family at least twice a month. I cannot tell you how much this family binding time meant to us.
The past six years of our marriage had been tough, wrought with many difficulties including loss and death, a hard deployment, five moves, and difficult pregnancies. We had been living in survival mode for years, not realizing how badly our family and relationships were suffering or how much we needed to reconnect.
We felt lucky when we were offered a chance to attend a couples retreat during our 10 year anniversary. How amazing would it be to go on a retreat on our anniversary! We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reconnect and when my Mom offered to watch our two children, we couldn’t say no.
The retreat was beyond eye opening to say the least. We didn’t know how much we were both hurting or what was causing our issues; PTSD, depression, hurt, loss, anger, triggers, miscommunication, and disconnect all ailed our marriage. We learned all this from attending the marriage classes, opening up and being vulnerable with ourselves, our spouses, and also, suprisingly, with the other couples at the retreat. It’s amazing how much we, as military families, forget that the people around us are suffering just as much as we are. We isolated ourselves from the people who would understand us best even though we are all living through similar situations and dealing with the same difficulties; PTSD, depression, hurt, loss, anger, triggers, miscommunication, and disconnect…sound familiar? Project Sanctuary opened our hearts to how much we all can relate to each other, even though we come from different walks of life.
We gained so much perspective and skills from our retreats. It changed everything from how we connect, how we parent, how we work together during both the good times and bad, the importance of keeping our marriage a priority and to always keep communication open so we felt safe to share. We also gained life-long friends who are there for us through thick and thin and we for them. We learned that Project Sanctuary is not “just” a free retreat, it changes lives for the better while bringing you close to those that matter most in your life, your family and your military friends.
My husband is now looking forward to being involved with Walton’s Warriors and continues to challenge himself physically and mentally. I am sharing our story to encourage other families to make the leap and learn more about Project Sanctuary.
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