#104: Nature as a Tool for Community Building

Ray Lee Bennett & Javier Rosa, Founders of Diving Devil Dogs of Arizona talk about:

  • Why spending time in nature is a key aspect of the services they offer

  • What happens when veterans spend time in nature together

  • How transforming communities can be enhanced by military values

  • How giving back to our communities can help create a sense of purpose

  • The power of validating people’s experiences and what can happen when you do

“You also have to understand that us being in the military, we tend to spend a lot of time out in the “nature”. Because when we’re in the military, we’re always out in the field. Except when we’re in the field we have duties, tasks. We have to stand watch and do other things.

In our organisation, when we go out to the field, to the 10,000 acre cattle ranch, we’re amongst brothers and sisters and we’re able to have that security where we’re looking after each other and then it also brings back certain memories that we once remembered when we were in the field.”
Javier Rosa

Ray Lee Bennett and Javier Rosa United States Marine Corp Veterans and are the co-founders of Diving Devil Dogs of Arizona, a non-profit organisation whose mission is build a community of veteran, active duty service members and their families to combine experiences, connections, tools and resources so that they support each other through mental and physical struggles.

Ray and Javier use diving and time in nature on a 10,000 acre working cattle ranch as a tool to help promote healing and bonding with those they support. They also use community outreach as a way for veterans to regain meaning and purpose and are community partners in Project Humanities’ Service Saturdays, which brings people together to serve the local adult homeless population by distributing gently used closed, shoes and other essentials.

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