Semper Fi Odyssey is a six-day, holistic transition-assistance event with a curriculum designed to get participants ready for life after military service while preparing them for success. Retreat sessions have between twenty-five and thirty-five participants attending each event. All participants will be grouped into teams of three to five and each team is assigned a Team Leader that is committed to each participant’s individual progress. Our veteran Team Leaders, many of whom have walked in the same shoes as our participants, are carefully screened volunteer business professionals who have successfully transitioned out of the military and into the civilian workplace.
Throughout the week, volunteer professionals (mostly veterans themselves) present material that will help participants network and prepare for their future. Each participant will have unique opportunities to practice selling your skills, receive valuable insight, and to obtain valuable feedback for improvement and building confidence. Each day, they will work one-on-one with Team Leaders to not only determine their own life and professional goals, but also to develop an actionable road map to accomplish each goal. Semper Fi Odyssey is not all classroom driven, there will be some team cohesion building activities that include outdoor climbing, zip lines, yoga, and other forms of physical exercise.
Due to the generosity of Semper Fi Fund donors, partners, and volunteers, the Semper Fi Odyssey program is provided at no expense to the participants; our transitioning, active duty injured service members and veterans. Accordingly, Semper Fi Odyssey is a collaborative effort to give back to our men and women who have honorably worn the uniform.
The ability to communicate career goals, establish high profile contacts, and create a network of resources is the cornerstone of the program. Primarily focused on career advancement, Semper Fi Odyssey also reinforces the significance of mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and social well-being. “Genuine Concern and Care” for the participants is evident throughout all aspects out the program and defines the overall experience felt by all whom attend. Since 2008, over 1,500 of our military men and women have attended one of our over 45 week-long conferences.
Justin Callahan – West Palm, FL
Semper Fi Odyssey Program Manager, Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, with project management and leadership experience in corporate, nonprofit, and military environments.
Justin deployed to Afghanistan as a Non-Commissioned Officer and Combat Engineer Squad Leader with the 10th Mountain Division (part of the XVIII Airborne Corps and the U.S. Army Rapid Deployment Force) in 2003. In 2004, Justin was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action, after his leg was amputated as a result of an explosion while conducting route clearance in Afghanistan. After leaving the military in 2004, Justin immediately began to pursue his next career with MedAssets, Inc., where he began work as an Event Coordinator and later held the position of Manager of Vendor Relations. Justin’s successful transition into the private sector, along with his personal understanding of the challenges faced by wounded service members, inspired the 2007 creation of Hire Heroes, USA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in providing transition and career placement assistance to active duty service members and veterans. In 2010, Justin became the Program Manager for Semper Fi Odyssey and is currently a full-time student pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW), with a focus in Public Management at Florida Atlantic University.
Jerry Behrens – Casper, WY
USMC Veteran of Vietnam & Desert Storm – Battalion Surgeon, Owner of Private Surgical Practice
Jerry, as a young MD, became the Battalion (Bn) Surgeon of the 3rd Bn, 9th Marines in Vietnam. Following his Navy Service, Jerry became an Orthopedic Surgeon in Casper, Wyoming. During the first War in the Gulf, Jerry returned to the Navy and was a Bn Surgeon in Kuwait. Recently, Jerry had a new Orthopedic Wing at the hospital where he works, dedicated in his honor for his 30+ years of service in that community.
Retired USMC – Sergeant Retired Supervisory Human Resource Specialist with the Department of the Navy; Vietnam Veteran
Joe is a former Marine Corps Sgt who served 19 months in Vietnam with 3/5 and the 5th Marines from Nov 1968 through June 1970 at the An Hoa Combat Base in Quang Nam Province. After being honorably discharged, he eventually took what he thought was a temporary civilian position as an Insulator at the now closed Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and somewhere along the line he stayed until he retired in 2010 after a 38 year career. In 1994 he changed career paths and moved into the personnel world with the Navy. Working with the regional HR center in Philadelphia, he became among other things, their veteran recruitment specialist. In 2007 he was instrumental in standing up their Wounded Warrior Program. He currently works part time as a contractor with the same Wounded Warrior Program and has served as a Team Lead since 2011.
Retired USMC – 30 years, UPS Executive
Bill Collopy – College Station, TX
Bill was a Squad Leader in India Company, 3rd Bn, 9th Marines during his Tour of Duty in Vietnam. Following his Vietnam Service Bill became a commissioned officer and retired as a Colonel from the Marine Reserves. After a host of interesting professions Bill secured his PhD in History from Texas A&M where he presently is a Professor teaching History.
Desert Shield/Desert Storm & Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, Brigadier General, USMC(Ret)
Blake served as an infantry and reconnaissance officer for over 32 years. He commanded at the Platoon, 81mm Mortar Platoon; Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon, Rifle Company, Force Reconnaissance Company Direct Action (DA) Platoon, Battalion, Regimental and Marine Forces Command, Fleet Marine Force and Marine Forces South levels. He deployed twice to Southeast Asia between 1990 and 1992 in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Desert Storm cease fire campaign. He deployed to Iraq as Regimental Combat Team 7 commander during 2006-2007.
Vietnam Veteran; Captain USMC 1968-1977—Retired Business CEO
Lon was an infantry platoon leader with 3rd Recon Bn and Hotel 2/1. Upon his return from Vietnam, Lon went to flight school and ultimately became an F-4 Phantom pilot serving with VMFA 323, and 531. Lon’s first job out of the Marine Corps was VP of Operations for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers. He spent many years in the insurance industry as a senior executive in two large companies before leaving the industry to start his own pharmaceutical business, which he built into a nationwide business before selling it and retiring in 2006. In 2007, Lon was lured back into the business world to become the CEO of a nationwide, turn-around effort for a Portland, OR-based company. Lon retired in 2012 and now spends his time playing classical guitar, competing in triathlons, and as the Board president for Lines For Life, a non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention, substance abuse, and military crisis lines. He also coaches and mentors business executives.
Retired USMC – Colonel, Business Owner
Monte served as an Infantry Officer from 1974-1994 in all four Divisions. Worked, traveled and lived in Asia, Europe, Africa, and throughout North America. Upon retirement he worked for Delphi energy & Management Systems (Indiana) for several years and subsequently joined an Employment Firm as a Director for one of their Technical Recruiting subsidiaries (Indiana). He also worked in the HR departments of several multi-national companies. Monte formed his own staffing company, Semper Fi Exec, in 2006. The firm provides professional staffing (executive, technical and mission-essential) to commercial and government organizations throughout the U.S. Monte now resides in North Carolina.
Howard Kelly – Daytona, OH
Howard was a Squad Leader in India Company, 3rd Bn, 9th Marines in Vietnam during his Tour of Duty. He is now living in Dayton, Ohio after a successful
Retired USMC – Lieutenant Colonel; Haiti, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan Veteran; Christian Missionary.
Steve enlisted in the Marines during 1982 and served as a supply admin Marine, as a Drill Instructor, and as a competitive shooter. He was selected for SSgt and commissioned a 2ndLt during 1991. As an infantry officer Steve served in 2nd Marines and 8th Marines and commanded 3 platoons and 3 companies. During 2011, while serving as XO of RCT-8 in northern Helmand Afghanistan, Steve was wounded. He retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel on 1 December 2014 after a 3-year tour at US Special Operations Command. Steve has completed a 1-year period of training with The Navigators for service as a Christian missionary and is now affiliated with The Navigators and Tun Tavern Fellowship. Together with Jennifer, his wife of 30 years, Steve now works as a Christian missionary focusing on Marines, Special Operations Forces, the US military, and the people of the Tampa Bay area. Steve joined the team at Semper Fi Odyssey during April of 2014.
Jim McClennehan – Pittsburgh, PA
Retired USMC – Colonel, Retired Career Counselor, Duquesne University
Jim retired as a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps where he had a whole host of duties during his 30 years of service. Following his retirement, Jim went to work at Duquesne University in Student Affairs retiring there after 15 years of service.
Retired Colonel US Army, Founder of Vault Associates, Consultant and Coach
Jane’s first career was in the U.S. Army in the technology field, culminating in promotion to Colonel and a position as the CIO for the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. This gave her a wide breadth of experiences in leadership, developing high performing organizations, and managing change in many diverse situations from small teams to large complex business transformations. In addition to practical leadership experience, she seeks out opportunities to cultivate a richer framework of options to help her clients create the breakthrough they seek. Jane has been a volunteer team leader with the Semper Fi Odyssey program since 2010.
USMC Vietnam Veteran, Retired IT Business Executive
Paul was a decorated Squad Leader in India Company 3rd Bn 9th Marines. Paul conducted over 300 successful patrols during his time in Vietnam. Paul participated in the Marine Corps most decorated single day battle during the Vietnam War. Upon his return Paul became a Senior Executive and program manager at Wang Computer Company.
Vietnam Veteran, Captain USMC, Retired Business Owner
Dan was a former Marine Corps Infantry Platoon Leader of India 3/9, the 1st Platoon Leader of Foxtrott 2/26 and the Commanding Officer, as a 1st Lt, of F 2/26 in Vietnam at various times during his Vietnam tour of duty. Dan left the Marine Corps in July of 1969 and went to work for 4.5 years as a counselor and cottage supervisor at one of Pennsylvania’s Youth Development Centers. Following that experience, in 1973 Dan started his own technology company that served the Pittsburgh and surrounding communities, grew it over the next 33 years and sold it in 2006.
Major USMC, General Manager Cintas Corporation
Doug was a former Marine infantry officer from 1989 to 1999 having served with 1st Battalion 8th Marines during the liberation of Kuwait, on the staff at Officer Candidates School, and as a Company Commander with 2nd Battalion 8th Marines. After Doug left the Marine Corps he worked in St Louis, Missouri for 4 years at Kforce, a professional staffing firm. In 2003 Doug returned to Pennsylvania with his family and began his present career with Cintas Corporation. Since joining Cintas, Doug has held roles as Plant Manager, Six Sigma Black Belt, Director of Production for the Northeast Group and the Mid-Atlantic Group, and General Manager in Hanover and York.
Jack Riley – Alabama
Jack was a decorated Squad Leader with India Company, 3rd Bn 9th Marines during his Vietnam Tour of Duty. Jack was wounded three times and participated in the Marine Corps most decorated single day battle in the Vietnam War. Following his time in the Marine Corps Jack finished his education and went to work for Vulcan Materials. Jack retired from Vulcan after becoming one of their Senior Executives.
Ann Richardson Stevens – Virginia Beach, VA
Owner/Director of Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga, Virginia Beach, Virginia
As the Owner/Director of Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga, she teaches a variety of classes both traditional and adaptive emphasizing technique and alignment, intensives, and teacher training’s at the 200-hour and 500-hour levels. For well over five years Ann has provided classes in Adaptive Yoga to veterans, to active duty men and women returning from combat, and to those injured or ill. She works with wounded, injured and ill as well as those with Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. Ann works with all types of disabilities including children and adults, and has developed this Adaptive Yoga Program from her experience working with these populations. She instructs workshops and teacher training’s across the country. Ann is honored to sit on the Board of the Give Back Yoga Foundation and to work with Semper Fi Outdoor Odyssey.
Retired USMC – Lieutenant Colonel currently working as Federal Government Senior Service Executive.
Dennis served nearly 30 years of continuous active duty in the Marine Corps; retiring in October 2005 as a colonel. He was a senior research fellow with a not-for-profit think tank supporting the DOD Science & Technology community address expeditionary operations challenges. In 2008 Dennis joined Government Service at the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, serving initially as the director of ground training simulations and then as the deputy director of ranges, ground simulations, and distance learning. In 2014 he was selected for the Senior Executive Service and is currently the Executive Deputy at Training and Education Command.
Retired USMC – Major, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, Helicopter Pilot/National Forestry
Mark joined the Marine Corps after graduating from Villanova University. Mark served with many units as a Cobra Pilot. Mark retired after serving 20 years and deploying to Operation Iraqi Freedom, he now resides in Johnstown with his wife and two sons. Mark spends his summers as a pilot with the National Forestry Service.
Retired USMC – Vietnam Veteran, Business Owner
Larry Williams – Las Vegas, NV
Larry Williams served as an NCO in Vietnam with India Company, 3rd Bn, 9th Marines. Larry retired from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sargent. Larry earned his living beyond the Marine Corps in various ways, but most often as an extremely talented and productive New and Used Car Salesman. Larry is presently retired in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Retired Marine, National Program Manager, Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program, Veterans Employment Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Billy W. Wright served in the United States Marine Corps, as an infantry Squad Leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion 8th Marines (2nd Marine Division), deploying to Beirut, Lebanon following one of the most single-deadliest days in Marine Corps history; the bombing of the Marine Barracks on October 23, 1983 that killed 241 troops, mostly Marines. Billy received all meritorious promotions while serving in the Marine Corps and will always remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice as part of the Multinational Force in Lebanon. Billy is currently serving as the National Program Manager, Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
The Semper Fi Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. The basic ideal that drives our efforts is simple: as much as these American servicemen and women have sacrificed, they and their families deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. Injuries are often severe, and the road to recovery or rehabilitation can be long and costly.
In working with Outdoor Odyssey, The Semper Fi Fund hopes to engage the children of injured marines and provide them with a unique wilderness challenge where they will experience success as an individual and as a member of a team. Activities will facilitate bonding of youth with a mentor who will serve as the focal point for follow on support in the community.
A MENTOR’S JOURNEY
After a week of the Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp Leadership Academy at Outdoor Odyssey the candidate qualifies as a mentor in our program. They will spend the following week with a team of children from an elementary or middle school in their same area. This week of adventure is only the beginning of journey this team will take together throughout the school year.
A CHILD’S CHANCE FOR SUCCESS
Unfortunately the stress put on to the child of an injured marine is sometimes overlooked. They must handle challenges and adversities that someone their age should not have to face alone. We hope to alleviate and master this stress by matching up these children with a positive, educationally motivated high school senior that has the shared experience of growing up with a Marine parent. Together they will not only build up confidence by conquering a climbing wall but they will develop tools to be successful in school and life as well.
Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp mentors and campers achieve success not only while at camp, but in life as well. Our goal is to instill a principle centered life. Our leadership principles and philosophies are wrapped around every activity. This gives the camper a real life “take-away” as they return home.
￼General: For the past 17 years, Outdoor Odyssey has developed and implemented customized leadership development and team building experiences for a wide range of organizations throughout the country, with an emphasis on educational institutions. The success of these experiences has enabled Outdoor Odyssey to collaborate with school districts of Pennsylvania (free of charge) to provide leadership development to a very select group of high school mentors who forge a bond with elementary-age youth in need at Outdoor Odyssey and then assist the youth throughout the academic year, impacting thousands since 1999.
A Sampling of Outdoor Odyssey’s Capabilities:
- Team Building tied to the specific mission of the organization
- Leadership Development reinforced by high adventure facilities and interpersonal initiatives
- Facilitation of wide range of high adventure activities, leveraging indoor and outdoor facilities
- Personal Assessment and Goal Setting
- Life-long Planning Tool usable in any market or within any group
- Complex organizational planning
- Mentoring for individual or organizational investment: both for internal and external utilization
- Power of commitments and tools to ensure growth within the organization
- Personal and professional mission development: enhance organizational development
- Warrior Ethos from a Marine: develop a winning ethos, while inspiring responsibility to others
- Mental Fitness (brain training) and mindfulness from a grunt not a guru
- The Cardinal Virtues Still Apply: building winners, regardless of the mission
- Facilitation of conferences and off sites: reinforced by capabilities outlined above
Focus: “Outdoor Odyssey provides experiences that enable people to grow mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, becoming better citizens, employees and family members. Outdoor Odyssey’s “triad” of capabilities and resources (Leadership Academy, Lodges and Conference Center) reinforce these very important tenets. Accommodations range from Spartan (cabins in the woods) to very comfortable (Lodges and Conference Center); however, they are, by design, not oriented to pamper people but to facilitate growth. Although there’s NO shortage of resorts and facilities that pamper folks, there’s a DEFINITE shortage of venues that challenge folks and avail them an opportunity for personal and professional improvement. Meaningful improvement requires some level of sacrifice; that’s why many training and educational opportunities fail miserably. People are happy when pampered, but actual improvement is seldom experienced.” Growth begins when individuals and groups leave their comfort zone, seeking challenge and bona fide improvement.”
T.S. Jones, Major General, USMC (ret)
Founder/Executive Director of Outdoor Odyssey
At a little over 11 miles with over 25 obstacles, The Roaring Run All Mountain Challenge is promising to be the toughest adventure race in the Laurel Highlands. Our brutal course has been designed by some of the most hard-core men on the planet. A Navy SEAL, a Royal Marine Commando, and a US Marine have compiled their vast experience to design a course that will test you to your limits. All while supporting a great cause. Will you have what it takes? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Will you be able to push yourself to the limits and make it to the finish?? The Roaring Run All Mountain Challenge is not a race and will not be timed. The opponent you will have on the course is yourself. We promise you mental torment, bloddy knees, and muscles so sore you will puke. But we don’t want to sugarcoat things. So we ask you one last time – ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?
Do you prefer a different kind of challenge? Then try the 5k course with 10 obstacles. Same terrain, same outstanding obstacles, just a bit shorter.Run or Hike. It doesn’t matter how you conquer the course as long as you finish. You’re not times. It’s not a race but a challenge. You can do this!
Pennsylvania National Guard
Semper Fi Odyssey Veterans
Semper Fi Kids (Camp Lejeune, Quantico)
“The Upper St. Clair Junior Mentors is a group of approximately 60 11th graders who welcome, advise, and support incoming freshmen throughout the year. For the last five years of the program, we have taken the Mentors to Outdoor Odyssey for a two-day training, and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the experience. Through both the instruction and the challenges, Outdoor Odyssey has given our Mentors the confidence, leadership expertise, and teamwork skills that they need to be successful not only in this program, but for the rest of their lives.”
￼We travel a long way at great expense and effort from Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida to Outdoor Odyssey in Pennsylvania. The reason we do so is because we believe General Jones and his carefully selected staff at Outdoor Odyssey reinforce the mission of our school and help us mold the character of our young men and women more effectively than anyone anywhere. The facilities are perfect for achieving our objective, the staff is unsurpassed in inspiring our students, and the leadership of Outdoor Odyssey is extremely receptive in customizing a program to meet our unique needs. There are probably places closer to Florida that we could use, but Outdoor Odyssey has proven that they are without peer and we won’t settle for second best for our students.
“She loves this program and I notice a difference with her and the new friendships she made with kids from other schools.”
“I love Outdoor Odyssey!!”
“There truly aren’t words for what this weekend meant to us, not only as a couple but ultimately for our family! Big high five to everyone for an awesome experience and many, many thank yous!”
“The Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps has partnered with Outdoor Odyssey for nearly 18 years; and in that time the Outdoor Odyssey staff has executed dozens of very affordable and exceptional leadership programs for our group, all in a beautiful outdoor setting. The staff worked hard to make our experience positive and dynamic every time. Our participants have stated that the programs they have attended at Outdoor Odyssey have not only been inspirational but have also been a unique experience that would be hard to replicate!”
When a plan not only comes together but surpasses your wildest hopes and dreams, it is truly an unforgettable experience. Outdoor Odyssey is responsible for the remarkable transformation that is taking place on our campus back in Orlando. We’ve always been blessed to work with great kids at Lake Highland. But now we have confident students that are leading their peers with humility and genuine concern. They are mentoring our elementary and middle school students, encouraging each other in the classrooms and on the playing fields, challenging themselves and others to demonstrate moral courage, and modeling unconditional love and acceptance. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the Leadership Academy and can’t wait to watch as future classes set out on this journey.