Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
In anticipation of the spring-through-fall retreat season, Special Liberty Project needs community volunteers. Late last summer, Special Liberty Project moved its headquarters from California to the Holly Springs area of Macon County. Founders of the organization, Cory and Jessica Merritt, first established the nonprofit four years ago in San Diego.
Cory, a recently retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief involved in search and rescue, co-founded Special Liberty Project with Jessica to provide nature-oriented programs for individuals and groups of people who have experienced military-related trauma and loss. Besides a variety of activities and events, a main focus of Special Liberty Project is to host outdoor retreats not only for veterans healing physically and emotionally, but for military families members as well.
The new Special Liberty Project headquarters and retreat center includes wide-open spaces for hiking, nature walks, glamping/camping, hunting, workshops, and more. Weekend retreats addres three aspects each day: physical, such as yoga, equine activities, and more; emotional, such as mindfulness, journaling, etc.; and, skill learning, through hands-on workshops, such as pottery making, knitting, and quilting, and including money management, fishing, and gardening.
Volunteers are needed to commit to teach in a wide variety of areas at the monthly retreats’ short, hands-on workshops. With early April slated as the launch of the first retreat in Special Liberty Project’s new home, “all help will be appreciated,” pointed out Jessica, to clear trees, split wood, rake, assist with general landscaping, build tent platforms, and more. Volunteer days are Saturday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, March 6, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information about volunteering opportunities at Special Liberty Project, and to discuss sharing skills and knowledge for a retreat workshop, contact Jessica Merritt at (619) 726-9240, or email her at Jessica@SpecialLibertyProject.org.