Boise State Rec Center has partnered with Neptune Warrior to help student veterans cope with stress, transitioning, PTSD, and hypervigilance by using breathing techniques in scuba diving.
Anderson’s flag pulled out of Quinn’s Pond. From left: Kathryn Larrick, Maria Guare, BreAnna Ganske, Rob Anderson
Rob Anderson, founder of Neptune Warrior, is a veteran himself. He is a certified scuba instructor and dive guide. Anderson came up with the BREATH program to help vets with seen and unseen wounds.
Veterans sometimes have a hard time acclimating once they return from deployment. “A source of anxiety,” Anderson says, “is they were given missions on duty and now they don’t have one.” BREATH gives them a mission. Focusing on breathing, participants play games and do basic scuba activities under water. Games range from passing an object back and forth to playing dominoes, all while being completely submerged.
Veterans suffering from PTSD and hypervigilance often experience anxiety and exhaustion. With this program, all student veterans can get geared up, jump in the water, and just breathe — even those with limited mobility. Doing so can bring peace, serenity, and quietness, creating a mental safe space for vets.
Whether you’re a trained scuba diver or a beginner, Neptune Warrior will assist and teach along the way. BREATH, says Anderson, “is great for relaxation, relieving muscle and joint pain, and just letting go and having some fun.”
From left: Maria Guare, BreAnna Ganske, and Kathryn Larrick
Each session is $35 to use Neptune Warrior’s equipment; included is a mask, vest, and an air supply tank. The organization plans to raise money so student vets can join for as little as $10. That goal relies heavily on donations from Operation Bronco. Anderson is so committed, his family has donated their own money and time to make this happen.
Neptune Warrior is a nonprofit organization where 100 percent of fees go back into supplies and equipment maintenance. All instructors and assistants work on a volunteer basis.
BREATH will be in the Rec pool April 14, 21, and 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. In order to provide a high level of instructor involvement, each session will accommodate no more than four participants. To register, email Veterans Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 208-426-3744.
Filed by BreAnna Ganske