Resilience in Action: Outdoor Adventure Team Year in Review

To learn more about the Outdoor Adventure Team, click here.

In 2017, USO Hampton Roads and Central Virginia (USOHRCV) created the Outdoor Adventure Team (OAT), a peer-led health and wellness program designed for service members and their families to connect over physical challenges and adventure in order to encourage sustainable healthy living. OAT has the scalability to include wounded, ill, or injured service members as a supplement to their ongoing rehabilitation efforts. Since its creation, thousands of local military members have utilized this program to connect with their community, reach fitness goals, and recover from their physical and emotional wounds from serving.

Within the last year, OAT expanded its reach by almost 2000% despite the pandemic through virtual programming, special events, and functional fitness sessions at the OAT indoor facility on Joint Base Expeditionary Base Little Creek.

In 2020, Michael Schwarting joined OAT as Special Programs Manager and under his leadership, OAT introduced several new offerings including Stand-Up Paddle boarding, Adventure Racing, Mommy and Me workouts, Yoga, Meditation, and Rowing. In 2021, OAT has plans to include Kayaking, Family and Single Service Member Wellness Retreats, Open Water Swimming, Skiing, Snowboarding, Triathlons, Backpacking events, and more!

Image by Rare Rose Imagery

Prior to 2020, the OAT facility mainly operated as a cycling studio. With the generosity of local supporters and T-Mobile, the facility is now home to new equipment, including state of the art functional fitness equipment. To aid in post workout recovery, the facility has options like the Normatec System, Hypervolt/HyperIce, and most recently, Bio-Electromagnetic Energy Regulation technology (BEMER), which uses Pulsed Electromagnetic fields (PEMF) to increase microcirculation and promote healing.

During the Halloween season, our annual Spooky Good Times: A Trunk or Treat Adventure event took a different approach to include OAT offerings for the whole family to enjoy. Activities included Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga, a 1K Fun Run, and 3K Zombie Run. OAT continued to promote the importance of fitness as a family unit through Mommy and Me workouts, and by launching its first family-friendly Adventure Race at York River State Park. OAT has also partnered with Jackie Shorrock of Solidarity of Sisters to create Mindful Moments, a YouTube series of short videos to promote mindfulness through yoga, breathing exercises, and more.

Image by Rare Rose Imagery

A typical day at the OAT facility consists of open gym hours as early as 6:30 a.m. Afterwards, OAT conducts functional fitness classes in partnership with the USMC WAR-P Program, like cycling, rowing, and recovering. If participants bring their children, the children can enjoy movies and snacks in the recovery room while under the supervision of a USO staff member.

“Thanks for making classes moms can attend. Helping us be strong and healthy makes a huge difference to our wellness and in turn makes us better supporters of our service members,” beamed Caitlin Mox, who attends Mommy and Me workouts with OAT.

Image by Rare Rose Imagery

With new equipment, offerings, and leadership, one thing remained the same: the importance of community. 2020 was a year that presented unique challenges to service members and their families. With the help of OAT, families and local military connected over fitness and wellness in ways USO HRCV has never seen before.

“Not all wounds are visible or even diagnosed. I think this past year a lot of light was shed on some of the battles our service members and their families deal with when it comes to mental health. Building a community and family bonding over healthy activities and lifestyles is a great outlet for folks,” said Vicky West, OAT Studio Manager.

The safety of service members and their families is a top priority at the OAT facility, especially during these uncertain times. The OAT facility is following State protocols for fitness facilities. Additionally, surfaces are wiped down between use and the facility is deep cleaned at least once a week. Disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, and a sink with hand soap is always readily available for participants to use.

To join the Outdoor Adventure Team, click here for more information or contact Michael Schwarting at or Vicky West at

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