When it comes to your mental health we’ll help you move mountains – and we’ll start by climbing them.

About Us

Connection through nature

The First Responder Resiliency Project is a peer support based not for profit led BY First Responders FOR First Responders, which takes First Responders into the backcountry of Alberta for multi day trips with a mental health and resiliency focus. 

We were inspired to start this not for profit based on our own experiences in the backcountry, as we’ve found that nature, adventure, shared experiences, as well as pushing the limits of our physical endurance are a means to combat the stress of our chosen professions.

In 2024 we are expanding the program to take other First Responders who need connection and support backpacking into beautiful David Thompson Country. These experiences have been life changing, and frankly life saving, for many of us, and we want to share these experiences with others. 

dan

Cst. Daniel Tallack

Founder

The Why

Amazing views. Connection. Quiet. Camaraderie. Reflection. Friendship.

We recognize the toll our jobs take on our mental health. The truth is this, no one calls emergency services when they’re having a good day.

It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize that you cannot deal with folks on what is often the worst day of their lives for any significant amount of time and not have personal consequences (although lots of folks with PhDs are doing work that shows just that).

In fact, a recent study shows that over a 25 year career, a Canadian First Responder will experience between 575 and 1150 potentially psychologically traumatic events (Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., Krakauer, R. L., Andérson, G. S., MacPhee, R. S., Ricciardelli, R., Cramm, H., Groll, D., & McCreary, D. R. (2019). Exposures to potentially traumatic events among public safety personnel in Canada. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 51(1), 37–52.). And those of us who do these jobs know that the numbers are likely much higher.

As the average person will experience on less than five potentially psychologically traumatic events in their entire life, it is clear that there is a demand and a need for members of the First Responder community to learn ways to decompress and take care of themselves, so they can continue their important work of taking care of others.

Our goal is this: to get First Responders into the backcountry, to reconnect with nature, connect with themselves and others, and realize that they’re capable of doing harder things than they imagine.

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Help our Cause

How can you help us make this a reality? Click below to donate securely through PayPal. All donations go towards equipment and offsetting the costs of bringing fellow first responders on these adventures. 

faq

Frequently Asked Questions

The group leaders are all current or former first responders, and many have a peer support background such as CISM, or suicide intervention training. Although we strongly believe in the principles of NBT (Nature-Based Therapy) and the healing power of nature, none of the facilitators are qualified as therapists (although we would be happy to work with you to connect you with some who are well versed in the first responder world if you’re looking for that!).  Instead, think of it more like peer support, where we are dedicated to looking after each other.

We reconnect often disconnected minds with nature, adventure, and a breath of life. We support like-minded people using knowledge and understanding to overcome the barriers of living with the stress of these occupations and the potential tole they take on our physical and mental health. By getting away from the 24/7 news cycle (no cell service out here!) we are given a chance to actually decompress among peers, share strategies and lessons learned, and build community. 

All trips are held in the remarkably beautiful David Thompson Country in the Rockies of Alberta.  David Thompson Country is located just a few hours from both Edmonton and Calgary. Drive straight west on highway 11 from Red Deer, past Nordegg, and you’re there.

The project is designed to for anyone in a current or former first responder role. As mentioned above, we are not therapists or mental health experts, just a group of peers hoping to help other First Responders by normalizing some of the things they may be going through, sharing lessons learned, and showing each other that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. Although some of the people who lead these trips do have an OSI related diagnosis, it is not a precursor for participation. We hope to help folks build resiliency and develop skills, connections, and strategies to help them become sustainable in these occupations, regardless of where they are at when they join us. 

You can help us fund this program by buying our merchandise (click here), making a donation, or even just telling a friend!

This year we are expanding to take even more first responders to experience the beauty and benefits of being in nature within David Thompson Country. We are planning three trips for 2024, July 14-16th, July 26-28th, and August 11-13th. Interested in coming? Apply here!

The idea behind the program is to reduce the barriers to get first responders into the backcountry. Don’t have any equipment? We’ve got you covered. The only items you absolutely need to have to participate is a good pair of hiking boots or trail runners (Goretex highly recommended), and your clothing, including a waterproof jacket. A full list of required clothing will be provided to the selected participants, as well as lists of some awesome companies who support first responders with some equally awesome discounts. 

Yes, there is a minimal cost to attend, $250, most of which goes towards your food for the trip. 

Currently, you will also be required to obtain a Crown Land Camping pass to access these spaces. There are options to purchase an annual pass ($30 plus $3.25 processing fees, plus GST per person) or a three day pass ($20 plus $3.25 processing fees, plus GST per person) available, and you need a WIN card ($8, card never expires) to purchase. You can purchase both of these through this link: Alberta Crown Land Camping Pass

A few days away from the 24/7 news cycle that can rule our lives. No cell service out here!

To push your body into a place of discomfort to realize that you are capable of doing harder things than you may have imagined.

Although you will likely be uncomfortable at times, know that these trips are focused on no one getting left behind. The trip sites have specifically been chosen to be challenging, but to ensure that everyone gets to the destination together. Besides, you see way more when you’re not in such a hurry, and trust me, you don’t want to miss these views.

Please note, we are committed to being a welcoming environment for all people. Folks of all gender identities, sexual orientations, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and religious affiliations are welcome. 

Discrimination in any form will not be tolerated, and people may be asked to leave the program if they act in a way which could be harmful to other participants or facilitators.

Due to the nature of our trips, participants must be able to walk in strenuous environments while carrying a backpack weighing approximately 35lbs. We are also looking into outdoor experiences which are more accessible for folks with different abilities later on once we get the program rolling.

Please note, all FRRP trips are drug and alcohol free, and that it is possible that someone participating may currently, or formerly, have had a substance use disorder.

Priority may be given to participants who experience multiple barriers.

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2024 Trip Applications Open!

Big News! The First Responder Resiliency Project is excited to announce that applications are officially open for our 2024 trip dates. We will be offering