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Heroes: Jason Stout, 42

He healed his grief on an outdoor journey - and now helps teens do the same.

Take it from me…

» Leave your comfort zone. In order to grow, set goals that are outside of your norm—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Backpack longer distances. Learn to rock climb. Talk to someone about your grief. If you face more challenges on an expedition, you’ll benefit more: Conquering them will expand your confidence.

» Once you commit to a journey, don’t back out. You will regret not doing it more than you will regret any of the physical hardships.

» Use an emblem to motivate you. If you’re hiking a peak for someone else, tape his or her name to your helmet, poles, and boots. Wear a bracelet that represents a character trait that you want to cultivate, such as “forgiveness.”

» Keep a journal. On backpacking expeditions, create a ritual of reflecting. Try a writing exercise called “Dream, Dragons, and Decisions”: Write down four goals or desires, four obstacles to accomplishing those dreams, and four ways to overcome those obstacles.

» If a friend’s grieving, be patient. Grief is a lifelong journey. It’s important to be a good listener, on and off the trail, and to respect others’ experience levels, whether it’s with grief or bagging peaks.

» To learn more visit

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