Sierra Club Military Outdoors Events

The Sierra Club Military Outdoors organizes outdoors trips for veterans, service members, and their families because we know that time spent in nature provides a unique experience to foster mental and physical health, emotional resiliency, and leadership development. For many veterans, spending time in the outdoors can also help ease transition to civilian life or with managing other life transitions. 

While the Sierra Club Military Outdoors (SCMO) program continues to offer national outings, the focus has shifted to creating collaborative communities of veterans who share a common interest and love of the outdoors and the land for which they have fought and defended. The goal for SCMO in the Mid-Atlantic region is to hold regular, ongoing outdoors events. This program will create an outdoors community that is self-sustainable, cohesive, low cost, and highly beneficial. The first step in this process is to train veterans, service members, and family members as outing leaders, which will provide personal development, leadership skills, and connection with other veterans. Once a base of outdoor leaders is secured, outings can be held on an ongoing, regular basis. 

Upcoming Training Events:

Outdoor Leadership Training (9/23)

The first regional outdoor leadership training will be held on Saturday, September 23rd, at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve from 9am-3pm. The goal for this training is to identify potential outdoor leaders in the area who wish to lead outings for SCMO. Participants will be taught the Outdoor Leader Training 101 course and will learn the basics of outdoor leadership including trip planning, group leadership skills, group facilitation and debriefing skills, orienteering and land navigation, conflict de-escalation, active and supportive listening skills, and elements of adventure counseling and other outdoor leadership skills. In addition, participants will learn about the two dimensions of outings for the SCMO Mid-Atlantic region: the first dimension is a leveled system for outings, with the difficulty of outings ranging from 1 to 6, with a level 1 outing being the easiest, and a level 6 outing being the most challenging. Participants will be introduced how to select outings and participants based upon outing difficulty. The second dimension of an outing integrates specific themes for outings. Through identifying volunteers and working alongside organizations who may wish to collaborate, outings can be customized to fulfill a specific function or purpose. For example, a level 1 outing can focus on veterans suffering from chronic pain and have a volunteer physical therapist and/or mindfulness practitioner attend the event. Through this event, the hope is to have veterans, active duty service members, spouses, caregivers, and other family members trained as outing leaders who can hold outings in the region on a regular, ongoing basis. In addition to the above, a volunteer therapist and art therapist are attending to demonstrate how volunteers can be utilized on outings. The address for this event is Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, 7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102.


Wilderness Survival Skills and the Classroom Workshop (9/17)

The second event that is planned is geared towards student veterans/family members. On Sunday, September 17 from 9am to 3pm, an outing for student veterans/adult family members will be held in collaboration with Go-Adventures at the Butler School in Darnestown, MD. This outing will include a wilderness skills workshop that will translate how wilderness skills, such as land navigation, finding resources, building shelter, and other survival activities, can translate to survival in the transition to school. Participants will also engage in fire building, naturally purifying water, and discussions about how wilderness survival skills can translate to surviving – and thriving – in school. This program is geared towards any veterans or adult family members who are currently enrolled in school. The address for this event is Butler School, 15951 Germantown Rd, Darnestown, MD 20874.


For more information regarding these events, contact Aaron Banas at or by phone at 914.261.9295.