Please scan and email completed application to or mail to Soul River Inc. – 1926 N. Kilpatrick St. Suite. B, Portland, OR 97217. Applications can also be dropped off in person, Tuesday – Thursday 9am-3pm.

Applications must be received by 11:59pm on February 15, 2021!

Important Application Tips & Info


It is really important to complete your application questions with thought and clarity. These will be reviewed by the Application Review Committee and are truly the “first impression” of the applicant. They want to know that you are genuinely interested in the program – not just a trip!


We want to know what interests you about the program, what motivates you, and what makes you stand out!


The Application Review Committee will be reaching out to some or all of your references. List people who know you in a group setting, have partnered with you, seen your strengths, and can brag some more about you! One immediate family member (i.e., a parent to a youth or a partner to a volunteer or veteran) is ok.

Soul River Inc. 2021

Deployment Prospectus

Soul River’s 2021 goal is to engage disadvantaged youth and US Veterans as champions for some of the most environmentally threatened habitats in the world. We do this by mobilizing youth and Veterans through educational deployments into these landscapes, combined with mission driven build projects, social media, documentary films, art, and direct meetings with public officials. We empower SRI Veterans and youth with platforms to share their experiences in these threatened environments with their communities and on a large scale. In this way Soul River engages inner-city youth in the larger conversation about conservation.

Our objective is to educate and empower two major, underserved demographics within our community through rich investigative learning experiences – disadvantaged youth and recently returned military veterans. We merge these two groups together on epic, outdoor educational “deployments” with a focus of fly fishing on wild rivers and exploring public lands that are accessible to all. Mother Nature provides the raw beauty, we provide the opportunity of a life-time. Youth and Veterans build authentic relationships with the time and place to heal from battle wounds of both the streets and war zones.

Community Impact Initiative



#MISSIONFORWARD is the overarching title of a series of community projects which will be implemented into each of the 2021 Deployments. These are joint-effort humanitarian projects which involve partnerships with our host communities and partners. The “mission-forward projects” are identified in conversation with the community we are connecting with in advance of our arrival. When we are on a deployment we as SRI (youth and Veterans) step in as an additional workforce to help the community achieve their desired outcomes, whether they be infra-structure development or otherwise. This is done in the style of the Peace Corps and is modeled from the Navy SeaBees aka the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions. The goal is to deeply engage Soul River in a community and to ensure the formation of reciprocal relationships. For these mission-forward projects, SRI teams of Veterans, youth and community members work side by side toward one goal: to repair what is broken so that it can be functional again.

Soul River Inc. In The Media

In The Field


STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.


Learning and exploring entomology; Utilizing river navigation tools; Studying river habitats and learning about restoration; Transferring insect knowledge to the art of tying river-specific flies; Identifying various species; Integrating conservation-focused dialogue and education; Storytelling and Presentation development; Public Speaking and Personal Story development; Professional advocacy development; Art making and Journal Writing.


Soul River creates opportunities for individuals to be leaders by learning new skills and work-ing together to address the task at hand. Participants become strong team members and better collaborators, as well as better teachers and students. Youth are required to research our deployment areas and communities and to be familiar with the threats faced in each location before departure to the location.


Incorporating land navigation tools and education; Teaching survival skills and wilderness preparation; Building opportunities for small group leadership; Integrating professional career development with an emphasis on STEAM and outdoor careers ; Mentoring, peer-to-peer and veteran-to-youth.


What is learned on the river and on the trails translates into daily life, by developing patience, attention to detail, place-specific knowledge and personal growth through physical challenges. Specific Skills: River reading and navigation; Casting instruction; Tying river-specific flies; Teaching rod and reel basics (anatomy of the rod and reel, line, leader, tippet, and knot tying); Instructing on river ambassadorship and angler etiquette; Backpacking and outdoor experience.


Soul River focuses on bringing together youth and Veterans with the intention of mentorship, mutual growth, and community engagement. Opportunities for Creating Strong Communities: Small groups for learning, maintaining a strong youth to veteran ratio (3:1); Providing a safe space for conversation and authenticity amongst all participants; Training and focus on Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion education; Inviting prior participants on future outings for relationship sustainability and mentorship.


Soul River matches action and a process to the idea that “your voice matters” by engaging youth and Veterans in opportunities to speak to elected officials about their experiences in the field. Specific Civic Engagement: Advocacy through letter-writing to congressional members; Social media campaigns in collaboration with partner conservation organizations; Public Speaking opportunities at Soul River Events; Visits to elected officials in Oregon and in Washington DC; Opportunities to engage in lobbying for public lands in Nation’s Capital.


Advanced Youth Leadership Opportunities Special operations of advance leadership mentored and fostered by veteran leaders. Soul Mountain is a small group that focus specifically on youth leaders whom are seeking advanced leadership and pursuing conservation as a career. Soul Mountain uses unconventional education in the field working closely with conservation groups to help achieve the highest of caliber of youth leaders SRI can foster. This program offers deeper learning and hands-on experiences with leaders working in conservation, further underlining the growing expertise of youth leaders as voices for conservation. Soul Mountain focuses on supporting and providing pathways to further mentorship, higher education and workforce opportunities related to conservation.

Deployments 2021

Advanced Youth Leadership Opportunities

Soul Mountain

Special operations of advance leadership mentored and fostered by veteran leaders.

Soul Mountain is a small group that focus specifically on youth leaders whom are seeking advanced leadership and pursuing conservation as a career. Soul Mountain uses unconventional education in the field working closely with conservation groups to help achieve the highest caliber of youth leaders SRI can foster. This program offers deeper learning and hands-on experiences with leaders working in conservation, further underlining the growing expertise of youth leaders as voices for conservation. Soul Mountain focuses on supporting and providing pathways to further mentorship, higher education and workforce opportunities related to conservation.

Leadership for life-Oregon BackCountry Bushcrafting



Bushcraft is the usage and practice of skills, acquiring and developing knowledge and understanding, in order to survive and thrive in the natural environment. Bushcraft skills therefore provide for the basic physiological necessities for human life: food, (through foraging, tracking, hunting, trapping, fishing), water sourcing and purification, shelter-building, and firecraft. Soul River will be holding a special deployment into the Mt. Hood wilderness, bridging deeper into the basics of surviving. This deployment will challenge participants psychologically and physically as they will learn the basics to survive in the wilderness.

  • Outdoor Leadership
  • Public Land Advocacy
  • Fly Fishing 101
  • Shelter Building
  • Knot Tying
  • Fire Craft
  • Entomology
  • Water Treatment/Purification
Mission Forward Project:

Little Leaf Outfitters
Arctic Conservation & Humanitarian Task force 2021


August 15- 23 2021

Fairbank , Arctic – Ivashaik River

Soul River Inc. will partner with Arctic Gwich’in leaders through the Gwich’in Steering Committee to deepen and continue to enrich our strong partnership with the Gwich’in community. Together ( Gwich’in youth leaders Soul River Inc youth) we will work to protect rugged landscapes, adventure through stories with the help of video technology, witness nature’s extreme conditions, and awaken our voice. We will journey by a cross cultural exchange through video feed and journey the Arctic Refuge. SRI Veterans will assist in making this deployment a lasting supportive advocacy change protecting the Arctic. Our goal is to establish an environmental and educational video experience to advocate for one of our planet’s few remaining pristine ecosystems – the Arctic.

This deployment is the pinnacle of joint efforts, combining Veterans and young leaders of tomorrow into a partnership with the Gwich’in community in addition to cultural immersion and environmental engagement education.

This deployment offers education about the reality of Arctic tribal communities due to global warming and the current political crisis. Faced with climate change, extractive development and drilling, traditional life among the Gwich’in Nation is at threat. We will implement an interactive, non-traditional classroom through video technology tying to social media platforms that will engage a strong advocacy of our youth for tomorrow. SRI will observe, discuss and learn from community elders about the gross impacts both environmentally and socially. SRI will partner with conservation and environmental justice influencers, such as members of the Alaska Wilderness League, to build a bridge between SRI youth leaders and congressional leaders, policy change-makers and Gwich’in youth leaders. Together, we will be the voice in the Lower 48 for the Gwich’in community in order to support the efforts of protecting the Arctic and its refuge system.

  • Take grassroot efforts to protect the environment and strengthen understanding of environmental issues
  • Create links among Gwich’in youth and community and SRI youth and community
  • Discuss impacts of climate change, wildlife, ecosystems, culture, etc.
  • Instill community-building leadership skills in youth
  • Build and repair side-by-side amongst multiple, diverse communities
  • Apply conservation-minded practices
  • Provide a platform for public policy and advocacy (post-deployment)


August 5- 9, – 2021

John Day

Over and under and around the corner, slowly creeping through wild country in overlanding style, this will be a back country journey to the John Day River! Soul River will join forces with Veteran Overland, a group which supports veterans by helping them find healing in nature. Two forces coming together in the backcountry centered around leadership and community building. Veterans and youth together in the wild will learn about advocacy of our public lands and experience nature’s healing properties for the soul. The John Day River is the longest river without dams in Oregon! Located in Eastern Oregon, the section from Service Creek to Tumwater Falls flows through a number of colorful canyons, broad valleys, and breathtaking terrain. This segment offers exceptional anadromous steelhead and warm-water bass fishing.

We will be traveling Overlanding style into the back country with partners Veteran Overland. We will follow a specially built curriculum focusing on self-reliance traveling in a remote wilderness. Our special basecamp will be on the John Day River encompassing fly fishing in nature’s theater of life.

  • Outdoor Leadership
  • Public Land Advocacy
  • Fly Fishing 101
  • Fly Fishing
  • Knot Tying
  • Land Navigation
  • Tribal relations
  • Fire Building
  • Entomology
  • Overlanding Safety
  • Overland Gear and Usage
  • Water Purification
Deschutes River on the fly with Little Leaf


June 18- 21, 2021

Take a journey through the rugged and beautiful scenery on the Warm Springs Reservation as the Deschutes rambles through canyons, calm stretches, and then drops sharply through Whitehorse Rapids. Besides great fly fishing, the Lower Deschutes is home to some of Oregon’s most dramatic scenery and wildlife, including owls, bald eagles, osprey, blue heron, big horn sheep, mule deer, elk, playful otters among other wildlife. Home of the redband trout and the amazing Oregon steelhead. We will partner up with Little Leaf, a Native fly fishing outfitter. We will be learning about their history, culture, and climate change through their lens all wrapped up in the pursuit of fly fishing and resulting in increased advocacy awareness. This deployment will be very rich in content on many levels of learning and personal growth in nature in a 3 day base camp on the Lower Deschutes River.

  • Outdoor Leadership
  • Public Land Advocacy 
  • Fly Fishing 101
  • Fly Fishing
  • Knot Tying
  • Tribal History Of The Land
  • Entomology
Mission Forward Project:

Little Leaf Outfitters
Grand Ronde River Deployment


June 28 – July 2, 2021

The GREAT! Grande Ronde Wild and Scenic River flows out of the second highest peaks in Oregon, the Wallows. The river canyon is formed by volcanic activity with lava flows solidifying into layers of basalt ledges. SRI urban Youth and vets will explore the cultural and ecological of the upper Grande Ronde River system in Wallowa County, Oregon. Rivers include the Lostine, Wallowa, Minam, and Grande Ronde. Cultural interactions with the Nez Perce Tribe and their work restoring spring Chinook salmon in the Lostine and Wallowa Rivers. And to top it off a fly fishing mecca!

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Mission Forward Project:

Little Leaf Outfitters


March 21-28, 2020

New Mexico

The Gila River, a tributary of the Colorado River in Southwest New Mexico, could be considered the birthplace of wilderness and it remains an incredibly wild and incredible place.

When one of the fathers of modern conservation, Aldo Leopold, convinced the US Forest Service that the headwaters of the Gila should be designated the world’s first primitive area back in 1924, it set the stage for the Wilderness Act of 1964. Deservingly, the Gila became the nation’s first congressionally designated Wilderness and remains the largest Wilderness Area in New Mexico.

Today the Gila, the last free-flowing river in New Mexico, remains an oasis of recreation, culture and biodiversity. The West Fork, Middle Fork, and much of the East Fork of the Gila River sit in the shadows of the Black Range along the Continental Divide and the rugged Mogollon Mountains looming at elevations upwards of 10,000 feet in the Gila Wilderness. Surrounded by a varied landscape that includes one of the world’s largest and healthiest Ponderosa Pine forests, the Gila headwaters help sustain abundant wildlife ranging from the rare Gila Trout, wild turkeys, eagles, and dusky grouse to deer, pronghorn, elk, bighorn sheep, javelina, cougars, and black bears. Several packs of reintroduced endangered Mexican wolves have established themselves in the Wilderness Area alongside the world’s largest population of rare Mexican spotted owls.

The deployment will explore this wild river’s watershed and its rich ecological, cultural and spiritual values.

  • Explore the nation’s first wilderness and New Mexico’s last free-flowing river ecosystem and its importance as a migration corridor for wildlife.

  • Learn about living tribal cultures and history in the GIla.

  • Learn about the conservation of the rare Gila Trout.

  • Raise the awareness of Mother Nature’s healing and foster mentor relationships.

  • Learn about threats to the Gila and how to become advocates for the conservation of this national treasure.

Mission Forward Project: 
American River | Washington DC Advocacy Trip
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