By: Rob Dolson

Well first off I want to say one word to describe the training camp…WOW! Yes I said it! I learned so much during the 4 days at Camp Pine Crest, from learning how to not to flip a canoe, to what gear to pack during the hiking portion of the expedition, to learning the stories, challenges and successes of both civilian and soldier team members. I also realized from our group talks, that the civilian team members joy’s and concerns in life are not that much different than that of the soldier team members! This made the connection between both set of members a lot smoother and quicker in just 4 days.

Being a still serving member of the team provides me with certain skills for such an Expedition, but from what I learned from the training camp is, I need to work the old shoulder muscles for the canoe portion and to be mentally prepared for some of the challenging terrain and weather that might meet us in the interior of British Columbia. I plan on doing a lot more backpacking then normal and ensuring all my equipment is properly broken in, so to avoid the possible blister monster that could show up!

I met some very cool people throughout the training camp from TPL support staff, soldiers/veterans and business leaders. To pick out a few names who made the training camp weekend so great would be a disservice to everyone involved with this great Expedition team. Listening to everyone’s story (civilian and soldier) and how similar we are in our lives where one wears a green uniform and another wears business attire, inspired me to open up to the group about my struggle with PTSD and the comfort I felt from our group was outstanding!

“There’s the Right way and a Wrong way and then the Mackenzie Way!”

After the training camp, I looked back at why I decided to participate in this Expedition. I wanted to bring awareness to some of the struggles ill and injured soldiers deal with transitioning in to the civilian world, especially when you have avoidance and anxiety issues related to PTSD. Also for myself, the thought of being outside doing something physical with a great group of people helps me so much mentally and improves my confidence talking with awesome business leaders that will be great mentors to us soldiers!

I just want to end this portion of my blog by saying what a First/Top class organization True Patriot Love real is! The support to not just us as ill or injured soldiers, but to military families though there various programs and through the Expeditions to raise money for the programs again is first class and makes me humbled in the fact that some many great business leaders are out the willing to help!