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Garett at the Raider Project

The Raider Project

You served your country for four or more years in the military, traveling with a group of men and women you considered family. You left your home after high school and learned to rely on these people. Now, out of the service, you are alone.

But thanks to the Raider Project, you don’t have to be.

The Raider Project is an organization that serves the purpose of helping Marines transition to civilian life while also providing constant support after they have made the transition. This year, representatives from Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) had a tremendous opportunity to speak at the Raider Project Transition Seminar. This seminar is not specific to the Marine Corps but rather is open to all servicemembers who will be separating within two years, or to veterans who are still within a transitional period.

The Raider Project refers to the direction and guidance that service members utilize in their transition to civilian life as their azimuth. For those inexperienced with orienteering, this is a reference to navigating, typically from true north. According to the Raider Project, “Straying a couple of degrees over a stretch of years can result in broken relationships, crushed dreams, financial ruin, lack of purpose, and despair. The longer you spend off-azimuth, the harder it is to get back—but it’s never impossible.” SDI’s presentation to this audience showed that there are indeed paths on which you can orient yourself in civilian life that allow you to work around the elements of the Marine Corps that you loved.

This was the first time that Sonoran Desert Institute has been able to speak at an event hosted by the Raider Project. The seminar, hosted at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Towne Square, was held on May 19–21, 2017, and SDI’s Chief Education Liaison, Garett Bischoff, was honored by the opportunity to speak at the Saturday Wrap-Up for the first day of events.  In Bischoff’s words, “The speakers at this event were amazing! It was really a unique experience. We had the opportunity to address the audience, but the best part was the amount of one-on-one time we had to speak with service members attending the event. The SDI team had the chance to answer any questions that attendees had as well as address any possibilities for the attendees’ future education.”

The Raider Project Transition Seminar carried a heavy lineup of speakers. Topics included various facets of behavior, optimizing hormonal output, balancing stress through yoga, integrity, brain health, and nutrition. Attendees were also able to interact with all of the speakers throughout the weekend. The environment of education, interaction, and peers all seeking the same goal provided for a high-energy and motivating weekend.

There is an evident pride when the staff of Sonoran Desert Institute speaks about helping veterans. As a staff comprised of many former military service members who have already transitioned to civilian life, it makes sense they would carry a vested interest in students with a similar background. SDI has created curriculums that are easily accessible to military and former military servicemembers.

There is an evident pride when the staff of Sonoran Desert Institute speaks about helping veterans. As a staff comprised of many former military service members who have already transitioned to civilian life, it makes sense they would carry a vested interest in students with a similar background. SDI has created curriculums that are easily accessible to military and former military servicemembers.

As Garett Bischoff so brilliantly summed up the event, “There could be no greater honor than to help service members.”

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