DWS currently relies on a family home and a generous local businessman for lodging. Those two facilities could become unavailable without ample warning. Aging parents can decline in health. Businessmen’s priorities can change. We are grateful to have had use of both of these facilities, but we want to control our own destiny.
Both lodges have limited capacity, thus restricting groups to four and preventing larger more meaningful groups from attending. Lodge capacity also restricts other professionals and businessmen from fully participating.
The current lodge properties don’t offer on-premise recreational opportunities. They are merely lodging. Guests must travel to fish, hunt or do any other recreational activities.
A higher capacity lodge on a wooded piece of property changes the calculus in a number of different ways. The lodge property (38.6 acres) has already been purchased and sits directly across the street from DWS’s flagship hunting property (268 acres) that's rich with outdoor opportunities.
DWS could host 400-500 each year in a new lodge instead of 150-200. Accommodating entire SOF Teams, unit leadership elements, unit reunions, and a number of other combinations of SOF elements becomes possible. DWS can offer the facility to unit chaplains to host single soldier retreats or marriage retreats – all funded by unit funds. Units can reserve the facility for commander conferences – again funded by unit funds. The aperture for hosting simply widens meaningfully.
The additional space also allows DWS to integrate unit chaplains, therapists skilled in the veteran counseling, medical providers and even Veterans Administration experts. While the weekend experience is more focused on convincing guests to acknowledge their brokenness, having a discreet provider available for anyone wanting to talk would add another dimension to the weekend.
DWS could also include local and otherwise businessmen, who could potentially help transitioning veterans find employment or at least help veterans better understand how military skills might translate to the corporate world. Worst case, the two populations interact, develop a better understanding of one another, and depart with an expanded network of friends. Businessmen may also be donors, so they get to experience what DWS provides each group of guests.
The entire facility provides exactly what the current lodges lack – a litany of activities on the property. Everything a SOF operator would want to do in a weekend is available on the 38 acre property – two pistol bays, 100 yard rifle range (shooting out to 550 yards available on an adjacent property), sporting clays range, fishing on a 7 acre stocked pond, bow targets, pavilion with firepit, and more. Additionally, the lodge property sits within walking distance of premier duck and deer hunting opportunities during their respective seasons.