HFV Completes its 10th Season
This year marks the 10th year of Huts for Vets serving our nation’s veterans, hosting six trips in the pristine White River National Forest in partnership with the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Our mission began as an experiment to combat veteran suicide, initially helping only male combat veterans. Since then, the mission expanded to encompass all US veterans regardless of combat experience or gender – as their service and sacrifices left them no less physically and psychologically wounded. We are honored to serve the men and women that answered the call to serve their country.
Addition of Co-ed Trips
Huts for Vets traditionally constructs our cohorts to be men-only or woman-only trips to promote a more comfortable atmosphere for sharing experiences. Once a year, we will invite men and women alumni to come together to train as future trip moderators. These co-ed alum trips furnished a unique and remarkable camaraderie not seen in gender-segregated cohorts. We deemed this worth exploring. So, this year Huts for Vets hosted its first co-ed non-alumni trip. The result was astounding: present were deep, stimulating conversations around the table, laughter that out-roared the campfire forging new bonds. It was a result worth continuing for future trips.
All Female Staffed Women’s Trip
The most significant feedback on our women’s trips is that they weren’t genuinely women-only. Previously, our women’s trips were staffed by men and women. We listened and pivoted this year’s women’s trip to be comprised of all-women participants and all-women staff. This amendment benefited our lady participants and staff, creating unmatched bonds amongst the women cohort. We are excited to offer more women’s trips in the future.
Additions to Our Staff
Along with enhancing our program, Huts for Vets enhanced our staff to more effectively serve our veterans.
- Executive Director: Erik Villasenor
- Health & Fitness and Program Coordinator: Chris Joyce
- Women’s Trip Leader: Jen Patronas
- Wilderness Guides: Tait Anderson, Jake Sakson, Whitney Schuette, Anjenette Garcia, and Ryan Gannaway
This year, we were able to serve 47 veterans with our program. For 2023, Huts for Vets aims to reach more. Our goal is to run six traditional trips for our veterans: two women’s trips, two men’s trips, and two co-ed trips. In addition, we look to add an alum moderator training trip and a trip for veterans with service animals. Because of our outstanding team, we are confident we can effectively run eight trips. With the growth of both program and team, the demands of our budget also grow. We’re confident we can serve more veterans with your generosity and support.