EDEN — A dozen sons and daughters of special operations forces military personnel killed in action are participating in a unique summer camp near Eden this week to learn leadership skills and meet mentors to help them succeed in college and life.
The camp, Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future, is sponsored by the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc., based in Tampa, Fla.
The foundation provides full scholarships and educational and family counseling to children of special operations personnel killed in action, as well as immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.
Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc., provides training solutions to government agencies, corporations and entities to help clients mitigate risks in dangerous areas around the globe.
“All of us at VATC are honored to be supporting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and this Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future program,” said Mike Vaughn, cofounder and chief operating officer at VATC. “Our role in building leadership skills and fostering greater opportunity for these young adults is something that we feel passionate about and do with intense pride.”
Special operations personnel include members of the Navy SEALS, Air Force commandos, Army Green Berets and Marine Special Operations Regiment.
The first WOLF camp, based at Swanson Environmental Center near Eden, drew a dozen participants ranging in age from 15 to 20, said Vaughan.
“We want to train them in their individual capacity to help them develop leadership traits and confidence about where they want to go in the future,” he said. “We then help mentor them to help them get there.”
The camp uses activities in the Ogden Valley’s mountainous terrain to teach participants resiliency and to introduce them to various mentors, he said.
Participants received mountain awareness safety training Sunday from Weber County Search and Rescue members. On Monday, they floated in canoes at Pineview Reservoir.
Today, the participants are scheduled to mountain bike with Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, and on Wednesday they will tackle a ropes course and team building led by the Weber County Human Resources Office.
The camp will culminate Thursday with a visit to the iFLY skydiving simulator, iCLIMB rock climbing wall and Flowrider surfing simulator at The Junction in downtown Ogden. Later that night they will meet country music star Toby Keith before his performance at the USANA Amphitheater in Salt Lake City.
The Utah National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group based at Camp Williams and Swanson Family Foundation have also provided support for the camp.
Plans call for the camp to be held at the Swanson Center annually.
“We want to keep it going and expand it,’’ Vaughan said. “The overwhelming support and success is definitely going to bring us back here.”