Retreat Planned for Veterans On South Manitou Island

Veterans throughout northern Michigan are getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Local organizations, such as True North Counseling, the Maritime Heritage Alliance, and the Grand Traverse Department of Veteran Affairs, to offer a veterans summer retreat.

“It’s more about connecting, or reconnecting with nature as a therapeutic provider,” said Eric LaPaugh, a mental health therapist at True North Counseling.

Eight local veterans, men and women, will be traveling to South Manitou Island this summer for the retreat.

“We’ll be exploring, we’ll be playing team building games, we’ll be discussing what it’s like to be a veteran in today’s society, what our experiences may or may not have been,” said LaPaugh.

The program is being funded by a State grant.

“We’re really excited to partner with True North Counseling, and be able to be the transportation piece of their veterans retreat,” said Healther Jenkens, Executive Coordinator at the Maritime Heritage Alliance. “It makes it a lot more experiential.”

The goal of the retreat is to connect the veterans with themselves, each other, and nature.

“We’re going to talk about while we’re on the island, what we can take from the island, back into our lives,” said LaPaugh.