Bald Head Island Conservancy

Operation Healing Forces Visits the Conservancy for Caregiver Retreat

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by Jenny Marty, Marketing Associate

The Bald Head Island Conservancy recently hosted Operation Healing Forces for an Island Nature Tour, as a way to give back to another non-profit organization. Operation Healing Forces works with families of America’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) to serve the needs of active-duty and recent veteran Special Operations Forces who are wounded, ill, injured, or fallen and their families. One way Operation Healing Forces helps these populations is by conducting week-long therapeutic retreats for SOF couples as well as SOF caregivers. The retreats are designed to start or continue mental, physical, and emotional healing processes. In addition to Couples and Caregiver retreats, Operation Healing Forces offers support to the SOF community through their Special Operations Additional Resource (SOAR) program, which offers a variety of services as well as an Immediate Needs program to provide direct crisis support.

In September, Operation Healing Forces hosted a Caregiver retreat on Bald Head Island. Their week-long stay in a home on the island was donated to them. In addition to experiencing the island through the Conservancy’s Island Nature Tour with Conservancy intern, Kaleigh Hoynes, the SOF spouses and leaders spent time paddle boarding, kayaking, and climbing the lighthouse. They faced fears, bonded through shared experiences, and supported each other along the way. Spending time on BHI was beneficial to the participants, as they were able to take a step back from their busy lives to enjoy what the island has to offer while building community with each other. BHI offers a place to unplug and slow down. The island often feels like a unique spot far away from the rest of the world. For these spouses, it was the perfect space to focus on themselves and share trials with one another, ending the week rejuvenated and ready to return to their daily lives.

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“When we were on BHI, there was a sense of being away from all that sometimes makes life so busy. Life is literally on island time on BHI, and it allows all of us to take a step back and just enjoy the beauty and history of BHI. It allowed us time to bond over shared experiences, new and old,” says Tiers Arnts, the SOAR Program Manager.

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