I was fortunate enough to experience Camp Aftermath Roto 1 as a participant in March 2019 and as a volunteer for Roto 2 in March 2020. I entered Roto 1 open-minded but found I was still stuck in the all-about-me mentality. During Roto 1 and while in Costa Rica I learned new coping skills and principles very much set on developing routines and self-discipline. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness activities played a huge role in developing these new skills. Throughout the year-long Phase Three portion of the program, I was able to continue self-discovery while remaining connected with the other participants. I took the time to reflect on our shared journey in Costa Rica and the realization that, once I was able to look beyond my own perceived need to be seen and heard, it brought me immense joy to help the local people in La Carpio and to see the gratitude on their faces. I was also grateful that I was able to connect with the participants in a healthy and goal-oriented manner. Upon returning from Costa Rica, I sought out volunteer opportunities in my community and knew that I wanted to continue engaging with Camp Aftermath.
As a volunteer during Phase 2 of Roto 2 in Costa Rica, everything came full circle for me. I was able to focus more on continuing my studies in yoga and other alternative health methods and, in turn, share that information with the participants. This enabled me to lead by example and implement what I had learned over the previous year into practice, and really focus my attention on the well-being of the Roto 2 participants. By doing so, I was finally able to get out of myself and make it truly about healing and helping others, which was what I had been missing. I felt connected to the participants and focusing on them had a positive impact on my family life upon my return from Costa Rica, as I was able to put into practice the new skills I had learned. Today, I am more focused at home, I am better able to listen to my daughters and wife, and I am able to initiate activities and anticipate their needs. This has enabled me to contribute to my family and community in a meaningful manner once again.
Camp Aftermath has truly been a life changing experience for me. Throughout my healing journey, I have taken part in various programs offered to veterans and first responders; however, none of them had the lasting impression or resulted in the positive changes that my experiences with Camp Aftermath have provided. By focusing on healing through helping others and philanthropy, I have been able to come back to myself. I have made healthy and meaningful connections with peers, I have started the healing process with my family, and for the first time in a long time, I am truly excited about what possibilities the future holds.
Cyriaque Davies served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 15 years in the Calgary Highlanders, 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and as a medic. During his time in the military, he was deployed to Croatia, Bosnia, Haiti, Pakistan (DART), and Afghanistan.
How you can help
There are currently many amazing programs that focus on helping veterans and first responders suffering living with PTSD and operational stress injuries (OSI). If you believe in our cause, please help us make a difference in the lives of five military veterans and first responders slated to experience our three-phased program in early 2021. You can donate to our campaign on Canada Helps.