When arriving in Guam, my very first duty station as a spouse, I was a bit overwhelmed, anxious, and not quite sure how to begin my life there. What am I doing on this tiny island in the middle of the pacific and how will I survive here? Easy… meet a group of kind, spontaneous, genuine, waterfall swimming, mountain climbing people and not only survive, but thrive!!!
My first hike in Guam was a sunset hike to Mt. Jummullong. Who am I kidding? It was my first hike ever. Military Wild had yet to be established. This was just a group of military spouses, retirees and active duty members who wanted to get outdoors and explore their home together. To empower each other and push one another outside of their comfort zones. Co-founder, Hannah Wolt, knew that there was something special with this outdoor community. Her idea to expand to other military duty stations and provide a safe place to get #outdoorsanywhere is how Military Wild began.
In 2018, the first chapter of Military Wild was officially created. Now, just a few short years later, this outdoor community consists of 13 chapters and 21 ambassadors and over 7,500 members across the country including submarine duty stations such as Hawaii, Washington, Virginia, Guam and Georgia. Co-founders and current board members consist of Hannah Wolt (president), Kailey Brown (vice president), Jennifer Everhart (secretary) and Jeannie Poletti (treasurer and marketing director).
Leah Roush, Military Wild Ambasador in Guam, said that Military Wild changed her life. “I cried like a baby when we got orders to Guam. I was homesick and absolutely terrified during our first few months on island. I sat at home all day every day, trying to figure out how in the world I was going to make it living here for three whole years. All it took was one hike with MW to completely alter the trajectory of my time here. I showed up alone (which was huge for me) and left feeling on top of the world. I finally had friends other than my husband on this tiny rock. Now, I have more friends than I can count and 99% of them have come from Military Wild. I have a whole community full of the coolest and kindest people I’ve ever met, and this island feels like HOME. I never could have dreamed of a better experience here and I owe it all to Military Wild.”
As for fellow submariner spouse, Marilyn Connell, she met a lifelong friend through Military Wild. “I met Kailey on a random hike when I was 38+ weeks pregnant. She was mainly concerned I was going to give birth on the hike. I knew my husband was going to be deployed soon after I gave birth (11 days) and I was terrified. She stepped in to be a friend. She especially helped out when the pandemic hit and I was left alone with 2 kids, some personal troubles and a looming move. She helped keep me sane. Now she has become ‘Auntie Kailey’ to my children forever and I can’t see my life without her.”
Both Kailey and Marilyn now live in the DC area and are a part of the Virginia chapter, with Kailey now being one of the ambassadors there.
Are you interested in becoming a Military Wild member? As a member, you will have a lifetime membership and can join in the fun at any duty station with a MW chapter. After registering, you will receive an official MW membership patch with community perks to MW’s official partners, including Fathom Coffee located in Virginia, Woman Warrior apparel, Outback Hound, and more. Visit their website or one of the chapter FB pages below for more information on how to start getting #outdoorsanywhere.
No MW chapter at your duty station? Do you enjoy the outdoors and have a passion for bringing people together? Check out the ambassador program to start an MW chapter in your community.