Announcing the OM Adventure Scholarship Winner

We are more than excited to announce the 2017 Winter OM Adventure Scholarship Winner - Marie! 
Marie is an adventurous OM member who enjoys living with an #outdoormindset.

With a passion for an active lifestyle, Marie has experienced so many adventures - not letting her diagnosis with MS slow her down. Between gardening, dancing, Crossfit, and so much more. She is an inspiration to all of us! 
Marie's trip will consist of helicopter hiking in the Canadian Rockies in July! She will be staying at the Bugaboo Mountain Lodge and waking every morning surrounded by glorious mountains. The days will consist of cruising across via ferratas, meandering through flowered mountain valleys, and trekking across glaciers.

We are so excited for you, Marie! (And you may catch a couple of us trying to stow away in your suitcase.) 

Member Highlight: Bryn

When Bryn Overton was 10 years old, she began suffering from her first petite mal seizures. It began in gymnastics when her father noticed that Bryn kept zoning out. It was a scary time for Bryn and her family... But she grew out of the seizures by the age of 16 and epilepsy seemed to have become a thing of Bryn's past. Until she experienced another petite mal seizure while driving, leading to a car accident that scared Bryn and her entire family. Then, about a month after the accident, Bryn experienced her first grand mal seizure. 
"I got really depressed as a kid, I was different. I was so excited when I got off the medications, so getting re-diagnosed with epilepsy really took a toll on me. But it taught me to cope with everything, just deal with what happens. It is what it is, you can't change it. I mean, it definitely takes a sense of humor to deal with what you've been handed, so I just try to keep positive.

It could have been worse."
Who has been your biggest supporter in this? 

"My parents have been there for all of it. They've shared laughs and tears with me. My brother has been a huge support. I talk to him about my travels, when I'm really nervous. He always responds with "It's going to be fine. We're going to take care of you." My best friend, Heather, too. She's luckily never seen me go through it, but she always makes sure I'm okay. 
They're my rocks."
Favorite adventure you have embarked on since your diagnosis? 

"Being a heli-ski guide in Valdeez, Alaska. I get to go out and spend time 30 miles outside of town, working in a lodge and skiing in the backcountry. Getting to
go in a helicopter and ski runs that only a couple of thousand people have skied before is pretty amazing. Best job perks ever. I also got to take a summit flight of Denali in a 10-person plane and fly around the summit. Now, I'm in the Grand Tetons, kayaking, rafting, and horseback riding."

When you get scared or overwhelmed, what do you think to push past that fear?

"Other people can do it, why can't I? If anything happens, I have friends and family that care about me. I just have to do what makes me happy. Becuase I know that the feeling at the bottom of this mountain is going to make me so high. Total adrenaline junkie."
Do you have any dream adventures?

"Oh yeah! Heliskiing is checked off the list. Southeast Asia is on my list, which I actually just got my passport for. 2-3 months of backpacking. I want to go to Italy and eat pizza and pasta. Oh and see the Alps, and climb in Yosemite. A big wall climb, like El Capitan."

What would you say to others living with epilepsy?

"Whether you have your seizures under control
or not, just work to get through every day. Remember the good times and cherish every minute you live without a seizure. You can lose it any day. But every day is a new day."

Bryn is currently preparing for an extended backpacking trip through Southeast Asia and living big every day. Happy trails, Bryn!

Adventure Scholarship Report: Maggie

    Outdoor Mindset's Adventure Scholarship wants to provide those who live with neurological challenges the ability to go on their dream adventure! Maggie Morehart, an avid OM member and exercise enthusiast was one of the most recent scholarship winners!

    Maggie has been through a lot since high school, but she doesn't let that stop her in her pursuit of living a healthy and happy lifestyle...
    "I was diagnosed with migraine and related conditions in high school. My diagnosis led me to learn more about my brain and the way it functions (or sometimes malfunctions as a result of my genes). Having a name for my disease allowed me to learn more, but I also found that there is a lot of stigma around these kinds of diseases. Over the years, I’ve encountered a lot of that stigma, which I think Outdoor Mindset is helping to slowly dispel. I love that OM is focused more on ability than disability and encourages members to accomplish their goals despite neurological challenges. When you have a chronic illness, it’s important to remember that you still have the potential to do awesome things. Maybe you do them a little differently, but that’s ok.
  I’m lucky to have a great doctor who helped me find a relatively successful treatment plan. Since I started the medications I currently take, my quality of life has greatly improved, and I feel like I have more control over my symptoms and my life. I’ve found inspiration in other people who have overcome obstacles... My friends and family have probably been my biggest inspiration. I’m lucky to have a wonderful support system that includes some great role models who keep me moving forward. 
Read all about her experience with OM's Adventure Scholarship:

   "During my trip, I visited four states that I'd never been to before - Massachusets, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. It was a great opportunity to explore a new part of the country. I met some really inspirational people and learned a lot along the way. I attended seminars, where I met some of my favorite authors and athletes. I also watched the Boston Marathon and saw some of the fastest runners in the world compete alongside wheelchair and hand cycle athletes. To be so close to the finish line and experience all that positive energy was awesome.

   At times, I almost felt like I'd treveled back in time. Between the Freedom Trail in Boston and the historical tour of Salem, I saw a lot of American History come to life."
   Maggie had been in close contact with several OM members living in the area and was even able to plan a hike with them through a portion of the Appalachian Trail!

   "It was great to actually meet them in person. The hike was beautiful, and we even got to explore some of the Appalachian Trail the next morning!" 
Does it seem like Outdoor Mindset would be a good fit for you, too?
Do you have an adventure in mind?
Sign up for our Adventure Scholarship, then get out there and chase your dreams like Maggie!

Adventure Scholarship Report: Hans

May 2016

      The first OM Adventure Scholarship of 2016 was a huge success! Several of OM's staff and board members were able to participate with the scholarship winner during the adventure. It was a day full of laughter and discovery. 

About the winner: 
      Just over a year ago, Hans Updegraff was an avid outdoor enthusiast, always staying active and getting outside. Then, in December of 2014, he was involved in an accident and experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

"My TBI affected my life initially by requiring me to relearn how to walk, swallow when eating, run, and many other activities. My TBI also erased my ability do simple activities that require higher brain functions and processing information - these directly effect my readiness to drive a car which hasn’t happened yet." - Hans

     The road to recovery has not been an easy one, but he says that he is constantly inspired to keep progressing because of the support of his mother, brother, girlfriend, and the therapists at Craig Hospital

Hans' favorite quote:
Hans' thoughts on the event: 
      "Having the opportunity to meet others who had experiences similar to mine helped me not to feel so alone. I had a hard time explaining my experiences and emotions and eventually began to feel very alone. This activity allowed me to meet Outdoor Mindset staff and participants who who were all very encouraging; which in turn made my life perspective more positive."
"I was very satisfied because the staff worked so well with me and other participants.
They made me even more excited about the activity. It was a chance for me to
nordic ski and be in such a positive environment.
The arrangement of the adventure was relaxed, exciting, and very friendly. It also put me closer to being approved from my therapists to
downhill ski again."
"I do feel like [OM] is a good fit for me because I really liked the arrangement of the adventure with OM. OM creates a positive time to give participants a chance to step back into a life that they value. It’s a good fit because for me encouragement is so important. I tend to be hard on myself when I don’t do well. OM was a good fit because I could tell the staff and participants were all there to just have fun and learn. It helped me relax and enjoy learning with everyone."
Does it seem like Outdoor Mindset would be a good fit for you, too?
Do you have an adventure in mind?
Sign up for our Adventure Scholarship, then get out there and chase your dreams like Hans!

Introducing the OM Adventure Scholarship!

Happy New Year!
The year end gives us time to reflect on the year, and take a big breath to settle the mind and return to a positive state of being; whether we experienced something tragic, enlightening, or downright dull. 

With the New Year, comes the view of the horizon. It’s time to look forward to a better future and plan to take action.

At OM we look at the New Year as an opportunity to reengage, reignite, and re-imagine the future.

To start, I and the Executive and Advisory Boards will be having a retreat on MLK weekend. We will be reflecting on our accomplishments, examining our current state, and planning for a big future! These are exciting times at OM! And in the spirit of reigniting the spirit, I am excited to introduce a brand new program:

The power of the outdoors to lift our spirits, to clear our thoughts and center our state of being, in history, was a gift that only gods could give. For many of us, the time we spend outside and in nature defines our character and how we view the world. We may dream of climbing that special peak, travelling to that amazing place and living that once in a lifetime experience. These experiences bring strangers together and friends closer, with memories and feelings that will be shared for the rest of their lives. It is at these precise moments when you take a deep breath and say, “this is what life is all about”!

Outdoor Mindset thrives on those moments and understands that the impact these extraordinary experiences have on our health and wellbeing is priceless! OM never intends to compete with the gods, but perhaps we can help provide the funding for you and a friend to get closer to experiencing a special peak, an amazing place and a once in a lifetime experience – an item on your bucket list that you have always wanted to complete.

Our goal with the new Adventure Scholarship is to help support OM’s mission to enhance the quality of life of our members, engage our members and encourage our community to connect with one another and get outside and live big!

El Chalten, Patagonia. Put it on your Adventure Scholarship
bucket list!
OM will be awarding at least one Adventure Scholarship per quarter. We will be awarding at least $500 per Adventure Scholarship! Applications will be accepted starting today, and applicants will be given until February 12th, to submit. Applicants must be an OM member, and the Adventure Scholarship must be used for an outdoor activity with at least one other OM member. Keep in mind, anyone can become an OM member and it’s FREE! And most importantly, the Adventure Scholarship awardee must have a great time!!!

Please click here to view the official rules and apply. Good luck!


Don’t forget to Participate, Engage and Promote! 

I can’t wait to see you outside and look forward to sharing more exciting news in the coming months!