Our Mission

At Higher Ground Sun Valley (HG), we enhance quality of life through inclusive therapeutic recreation and education for people of all abilities.

What sets HG apart from other organizations?

Our focus on innovative and sustainable therapeutic impact; we ensure the positive change the participants experience with HG translate to every aspect of their lives.

Since our establishment as a 501(c)3 in 1999, our programming has increased each year, while remaining steadfast in our goal to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation. Whether serving local children or providing unique camps for our nation’s injured service members, HG participants are able to experience the thrills of alpine skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, paddleboarding, martial arts, swimming, rock climbing, mountain biking, and many other activities at their highest possible level of independence.

Program Innovation

Our week-long Military Camps in the tranquil mountains of Idaho are just the beginning of our commitment to the veterans we serve. HG continues our communication and support with participating service member for at least three years following their visit, helping reconnect each veteran with resources in his or her home community to continue to be active and engaged. A reintegration budget is allocated for each participant to pursue his or her interests and carry on as an active, passionate, and valuable member of society.

Higher Ground continues to take a leadership role in an effort to share its research findings and standards of practice with military centers, universities, hospitals, veterans service organizations, and the adaptive sports industry. Our goal ,through this networking and refined research methods, is to improve long-term care for wounded veterans by demonstrating the efficacy of therapeutic recreation services as a means of rehabilitation and reintegration.

What We Do

As a positive and visible fixture in the adaptive sports industry, Higher Ground programs give individuals with disabilities the opportunity to experience recreation and the outdoors without limitations.

Designed and executed by our staff of certified therapists and dedicated professionals, each program helps our participants build physical and social skills they can use for a lifetime.

Research and Program Goals

In working with notable institutions like Brigham Young University and Indiana University-Bloomington, our documented research has shown that activity, where once missing from one’s daily routine, can have a profound impact on an individual’s physical health and cognitive function. Specific objectives of the HG program include the learning or re-learning of sports and recreational activities, elevated self-confidence, strengthened relationships with peers and significant others, and enhanced stress management techniques.

In addition in setting these goals for our participants, HG staff recognizes that caring for the caregiver is paramount to a successful outcome for the veterans’ recovery. The supporters often suffer alongside the veteran they are caring for, but this pain goes ostensibly unnoticed. We create a safe environment to provide a forum for sharing struggles and exchanging positive ideas. We enable the supporters to leave the event with a new skill set to enhance communication, increase understanding, and maximize independence once home.

Program Highlights
  • Addition to the Sea of Goodwill White Paper: Recognition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff as “Innovative Community Leaders,” an honor bestowed on less than 60 Veterans Service Organizations of the thousands nationwide
  • Co-Founders of the VA/Military Treatment Network through the American Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Development of Higher Ground: Standards of Practice— a document outlining the HG program model to be used for professional education, networking opportunities, and a guideline for future HG programs in other areas
  • Presentations: HG represented at IDGA Post Battlefield Healthcare symposium, National Paralympic Leadership Conference, AW2 National Conference
  • Conducted first ever paragliding program for wheelchair users
  • Documentary film of HG premiered at Berkley in May 2012
  • Featured in: NY Times, Challenge Magazine, SVPN, Hire a Hero Magazine, Wake Up and Dream by Dr. Barbra Lavi
  • New partnerships: Sierra Club, Able Pilot, Hire A Hero, Hope for the Warriors, Shepherd Center, Mission Continues, Pathway Home, Honor House
  • Research partners: Indiana University, Brigham Young University, Michigan State University, Creighton University, Chapman University
  • Research publications: 1 published, 2 more on the way any time focusing on objective research results, subjective research results from Female veterans journals
  • Current research in cooperation with IU: spouse and veteran research using internationally recognized assessment tools pertaining to: relationship satisfaction, quality of life, self-confidence, perceived ability to participate in sports, reduction of PTSD symptoms
  • Upcoming research: In cooperation with Sierra Club and Michigan State measuring the benefit of outdoor experiences on the lives of veterans