Tuesday, December 12, 2017

AWV Outdoors


Denali National Park. Photo by Naomi Schware, 2017.

Denali National Park. Photo by Naomi Schware, 2017.

AWV Outdoors is the newest program within American Women Veterans, and is geared towards empowering our members through leadership and teamwork in the great wide open, with a healthy dose of fun and adventure. Through AWV Outdoors clinics and expeditions, participants will learn new skills that enable them to overcome challenges and inspire others to reach new heights in the outdoors as well as in their personal and professional lives.

Current Programs:

Elbrus 2017

In August 2017, AWV Outdoors is heading to the peak of Europe’s highest mountain, Mount Elbrus (18,510 feet). This team will be the first group of exclusively women veterans to reach the summit. Elbrus, along with Denali, is considered one of the world’s “Seven Summits” (the highest peaks on each of the seven continents). Stay tuned for updates as we follow along on their journey. You can follow the team on our social media links below!

Elbrus Team Member Bios

Amanda Burrill

Amanda Burrill

Amanda Burrill is a lifestyle writer with two national columns about two of her passions: fitness and food. She’s also a Travel and Cooking channel host, Ironman triathlete and fitness model. She has SCUBA, skydiving and motorcycle licenses and holds a Bachelors in archaeology from Boston University, a Masters in journalism from Columbia, and a French culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu. She also obtained her wine, fortified wine and spirits certification. While focusing a great deal of her energy on healing after her 12th surgery to correct foot, hip, jaw and spinal issues, she is also taking the requisite recovery period to rehabilitate vision, balance, speech, motor skills and cognitive function after a long-delayed diagnosis of two severe traumatic brain injuries. Amanda is currently a full-time patient at Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine and is using her experiences in self-advocacy and healthcare navigation to advocate for timely treatment of undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and invisible injuries. She also sits on the board of and races for a charity supporting pediatric cancer research. Until 2010, she served as a rescue swimmer and combat systems officer during two US Navy tours aboard the USS Dubuque, communications officer on two tours with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, and readiness and training officer at Maritime Expeditionary Squadron Three. After the success of her first blog, she founded Uncharted Lifestyle Magazine, exploring the adventurous side of travel, fitness and cuisine, as a lighthearted homage to navigating the drastic and “uncharted” turn her life took after her first brain injury. Amanda lives in New York City, with frequent travel around the globe as part of her freelance writing, fitness and health advocacy and to ensure she gets to experience all things edible. Amanda intends for Denali to be her fourth of the Seven Summits. (IG: @amanda_burrill FB: @amandaburrillpublic)

Genevieve Chase

Genevieve Chase

Genevieve Chase is the founder of American Women Veterans® and a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom VII and XIII. After enlisting in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2003, Chase volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). During that tour, her vehicle was attacked by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, for which she received a Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge. Upon returning home, to counter the symptoms of TBI and combat stress, Chase dedicated herself to veterans’ advocacy. While doing so, she discovered a need for a focus on women veterans and their families from all eras of service. From that void, she created American Women Veterans®.  Genevieve testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about her service in Afghanistan as well as the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee concerning women’s health care. The organization she created was instrumental in influencing policies regarding healthcare for women veterans and women in combat. In 2013, as a member of the US Army Reserve, she was activated to serve on a second combat tour to Afghanistan. For her and her team’s exceptionally meritorious service while under the most extreme circumstances, she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. In 2010, the U.S. Army Reserve selected her as an All American Soldier Hero and in March 2016, she was inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame. After surviving months of PTSD, depression, and suicidal ideation, she is regularly requested as a keynote speaker sharing her personal recovery. Her journey transitioning home from two combat deployments led her into America’s wild places – places which she also advocates protecting. Today, she continues to run American Women Veterans and still serves in the U.S. Army Reserve. She currently resides with her two dogs, Diesel and Rumi, in a secluded mountain town in Idaho where she is working on a memoir. (IG: @genevievechase)

Naomi Schware

Naomi Schware

Naomi Schware is an avid alpinist from Boulder, Colorado. She was born and raised in Takoma Park Maryland. At 8-years-old, Naomi’s family spent a year living in Ahmedabad, India sparking her unwavering interested in exploring the world. At 20, Naomi chose to leave college to serve two years in the Israeli Military as a Sniper. Upon honorably completing her active duty, Naomi had mastered the Hebrew language and lived in a farming community working in various agricultural capacities. Upon her return home to the States, reintegrating into civil society and everyday life in Colorado was very difficult, so Naomi packed up her car and drove 11,000 miles of America— realizing that she hadn’t yet explored every corner of the country that raised her.  She then went back to the University of Colorado in Boulder to finish her BA in International Affairs. After finishing her degree Naomi and her canine companion Moose climbed thirty-eight of the fourteen thousand foot peaks during summer and winter trips. It was in the wilds of the American landscape that Naomi found her center and her purpose. She is now completing a master’s degree in multimedia, photography, and design at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University in New York. Naomi has produced video content for organizations such as Clear Path for Veterans as well as Eat, Breathe, Thrive—a non-profit organization working with the Give Back Yoga Foundation to bring yoga and meditation to men, women, and adolescents with eating disorders. Naomi is determined to be a visual storyteller and the stories she is most passionate about are those of conservation, adventure, human rights and veterans healing in the wilderness. (IG: @naomischware)

Denali 2018

In Spring 2018, three members of AWV Outdoors will set out to summit Denali in Alaska – the highest peak in North America, rising at 20,310 feet. This will be one of the first teams of women veterans to accomplish the remarkable feat and will serve as yet another testament to the strength and perseverance of our entire community. All three members met in Alaska for 10 days in April 2017 to learn mountaineering skills like crevasse rescue, how to move on a rope team, and avalanche rescue to prepare for next year’s expedition. Now, it’s up to each of them to train and prepare for the real challenge next spring. The team will be meeting again to take on Mt. Elbrus in Russia (August 2017), climb a couple of 14’ers (peaks over 14,000 feet), and possibly even Mt. Rainier (Winter 2017/18) to train for Denali.

Amanda Burrill on Ruth Glacier, Denali National Park. Photo by Naomi Schware

Amanda Burrill on Ruth Glacier, Denali National Park. Photo by Naomi Schware

Get Involved:

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! We’ll post more updates from AWV Outdoors as the program continues to expand (Include links to AWV’s social media)

www.instagram.com/americanwomenveterans

www.facebook.com/americanwomenveterans

www.twitter.com/uswomenveterans

#AWVOutdoors #AmericanWomenVeterans #ServeHonorEmpower #AWV

Make a donation and support these expeditions: DONATE HERE

If you’re interested in sponsoring our teams or partnering for clinics, please email Outdoor@americanwomenveterans.org to chat with a member of our team directly.

Interested in learning more about AWV Outdoors?  Please email us at Outdoor@americanwomenveterans.org.  If you are interested in applying to participate in a future expedition, please send an email with your bio (including photo) and a cover letter detailing your outdoor experience and/or why you’d like to join the AWV Outdoors team!

Rope Teams. Ruth Glacier, Denali National Park. Photo by Naomi Schware, 2017

Rope Teams. Ruth Glacier, Denali National Park. Photo by American Women Veterans Outdoor team member and photographer, Naomi Schware, 2017.