(815) 321-4673 (HOPE)
805 S. McHenry Ave., Suite D, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Outdoors Program

Kudos from Our Community Members!

“I went on a Father’s Day Lake Michigan Fishing Expedition with my dad (also a Veteran), and we enjoyed it immensely. I have never been on a boat on any type of water except for the Fox River, so I have never experienced any kinds of waves. I was sick at least a dozen times and had bites on my legs fromthe black flies while on the lake. Next time I will beprepared! All that said, I still caught threeSalmon, made memories with my dad and got to spend time with other awesome Veterans. I would highly recommend any activities VPHOutdoors hosts, they will be fun, you will be surrounded by like-minded individuals, and you are sure to make great memories.”

-Mathius L. Carter, US Army Veteran

Our Mission


Veterans Path to Hope Outdoors was created to support the mission of transforming and enriching lives through hosting recreational outdoor activities for military veterans, active-duty service members, and their families.

Our program embraces each veteran’s unique barriers and challenges, utilizing evidenced-based interventions to meet their needs and goals. The Outdoors program strives to help each service member through their healing journey by enhancing physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and leisure skills. Our goal is to offer necessary support in creative ways to boost quality of life for our service members and their families!

Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic recreation has become a highly effective alternative treatment intervention within the veteran community and VA networks.

Recreational therapists use outdoor activities to build and strengthen veteran’s confidence and self-esteem. Through these experiences and the therapeutic relationship, therapists help build and strengthen coping skills to effectively decompress in stressful situations. Outdoor activities also help individuals to form new relationships and emphasize comradery within the community.

Who is Eligible?

All military veterans with discharge status of General, under honorable conditions, or higher (Honorable), active- duty service members, and eligible family members are WELCOME to apply for our excursions!

Additionally, we bring approved civilian/veteran escorts and support staff on each adventure.

To inquire about upcoming trips and the application process, email Ryan at rjacobsen@vphope.org TODAY!

Adventures & Activities:

Our favorite activities: fishing, boating, and camping. We also enjoy sporting events and other special outings!

  • All events are approved by the Executive Director of Veterans Path to Hope.
  • At present, the Outdoors program aims to provide 8-12 excursions per calendar year. Once fully staffed, the program will run 12-24 adventures per calendar year.
  • Veterans Path to Hope Outdoors program is pleased to announce a new addition in the Spring of 2023, yoga classes! Yoga classes will be instructed by Stephanie Mattson, a military spouse certified under Warriors At Ease.

Program Funding

Veterans Path to Hope Outdoors Program is currently funded entirely by private donors, grants, and our fundraising efforts.

Our major events are funded by sponsors to offset overhead costs and to help maximize our fundraising efforts.

We are currently working to secure ongoing grant support to sustain the program and hire the necessary support staff to grow our operations.


If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or a donor for our cause, please contact us!

Ryan Jacobsen, Outdoors Director – rjacobsen@vphope.org

Mailing address:

Veterans Path to Hope
c/o VPH Outdoors Program 805 S. McHenry Ave. Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Veterans Path to Hope is an IRS 501 (c)3, Non-Profit Organization #36-4104887, your donation is tax deductible!

Our Team

Ryan Jacobsen, USN Retired

Ryan is the Director and Founder of the Outdoors Program. Ryan is US Navy 1992-2012 (Ret.) and works diligently serving his fellow Veterans as a Case Manager at Veterans Path to Hope. He is pursuing a degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Aurora University, graduating in May 2023. He hopes to grow the Outdoors Program to serve Veterans year-round in the coming years.


Our diligent volunteer staff keep our program running. Volunteers oversee many aspects of the program and work closely with Ryan to ensure each trip is an unforgettable experience.

Would you like to volunteer? Email us! rjacobsen@vphope.org

Support Staff

The Outdoors Program is planting its roots and beginning to grow. Ryan plans to secure funding to provide employment opportunities and maintain a full-time staff soon.