LifeQuest Transitions (LQT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Colorado Springs,Colorado. LQT is a military personnel empowerment program and a transitional assistance organization, which aims to empower our Nation’s military service members with life skills that enable personal growth, promote leadership development and facilitate positive change during transition into, through and beyond military life. The LQT model is a proprietary blend of science and practical sense. It includes a unique combination of adventure-based learning, cutting-edge fitness techniques, an environment of trust, and intense facilitation.
LQT’s main focus has been our military’s wounded, ill and injured. However, we have also worked with local Army and Marine recruits in their Delayed Entry Programs (DEPS) as well as retired military. Housed in an18,000 sq. ft. facility within the Blazer Electric Supply Company building, we see between 60 and 120 men and women every day. Our coaches work with these individuals and provide them choices, put challenges before them, and help them acquire the tools of change, for use in their own lives. This approach is combined with practical reality-based education programs to help individuals use their experiences to achieve extraordinary lives.
LQT is comprised of business people, doctors, parents, teachers, professionals, and passionate volunteers. All of our staff is dedicated to the mission and to serving our American service men and women. We are also dedicated to the idea that meeting the needs of these honored neighbors, will require a collaborative effort. To this end, we are actively engaged and will continue to seek other effective collaborations within our community, to makeColorado Springsthe model held up for the nation, caring for our veterans and supporting our military.
Choice, challenge, and change are some of our core principles and at LQT and we practice what we teach! In 2008, our founder CW Conner chose to make a life-changing move and relocated fromTexastoColorado Springs. His dream was to start an Adventure Racing team. InColorado Springs, CW met our Co-Founder Dr. Grove Higgins, who had already been working with athletes in the region and helping individuals realize their own goals of change. This partnership resulted in the birth of LifeQuest Adventure Racing Team, in early 2009.
Almost immediately, CW and Grove realized their quest needed to have the principle of change and transformation at its heart. So, within a month, they began to collaborate to write a youth curriculum called Camp Challenge. This program was to teach young people life skills, using adventure racing as a classroom; it was just getting off the ground when things changed dramatically.
Lt. Col Andrew Grantham, then-Commander of Ft Carson’s Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), came to LifeQuest with a personal request: help his soldiers. CW, Grove, and a small team spent the next three months meeting with the WTB at Ft. Carson to determine their needs and how LifeQuest could possibly help. On September 2009, a pilot mock adventure race was held inFlorissant Colorado for 48 soldiers, WTB staff, and medical (councilors) support team members. These wounded warriors stepped off the bus tired and apathetic. By the end of that day, they were laughing and cheering, and chanting the LifeQuest motto “Live It!” After-action reports came back praising the program and recommending more programming like this. At the battalion’s request, LifeQuest submitted a two-year program proposal combining adventure racing with ongoing program of adaptive physical training, to support each participant.
Sometime after, LTC Grantham revealed that there was no way the Army could pay to support the program. By this time, CW and Grove knew they loved the mission they had found in helping these amazing young Americans and that is when CW and Grove made the hard decision to take LifeQuest Adventure Racing Team non-profit. By the end of October 2009, the paperwork was submitted and the IRS granted LifeQuest 501(c)(3) status; now a non-profit organization under the name LifeQuest Transitions.
In a small office in the City Rock sport climbing gym, in downtown Colorado Springs, Dr. Higgins began working with a small cadre of wounded soldiers. Encouraged by their early results and the soldiers themselves, a meeting withFt.Carson’sEvens Army Hospital resulted in the request to help during the winter months. CW and Grove formally opened the program with an open house for 300 soldiers; over the course of a year they expected to work with roughly 60 soldiers.
The open house, on February 19th 2010, featured demonstrations of adaptive exercise, climbing, neurological training, and information to pique the interest of just some of the soldiers. In the end, 87 soldiers signed up before the closing ceremony. CW and Grove knew they had something and, with the help of Jonathan Cole, found a new location to house LQT and the “army” of wounded warriors who called upon them. Steve and Carolyn Blazer stepped up and offered their 18,000sq. ft. office warehouse to help LQT to continue their mission.
Within 1 month of opening its doors at 6125 Omaha Blvd., Dr. Higgins had personally interviewed and assessed hundreds of soldiers; with the help of passionate volunteer trainers and advanced training systems he began to train them and their staff and LQT quickly began to evolve.
As CW and Grove began to better understand the needs of the soldiers they were forming relationships with, reality-based education became an obvious answer to the participants’ need for the information to be accessible and instantly usable. LQT began offering programs in nutrition, career development, Reality Checks, and education in training/coaching so soldiers could learn to coach and make similar impacts on their brother soldier’s lives.
In July of 2010, Powers Army Recruiting Station sought to stem the dropout rate of their Delayed Entry Program (DEP). At their request, LQT provided a motivational and physical training program designed to prepare recruits for basic training including physical, motivational, and mental aspects necessary for resiliency. Experience with wounded, ill, and injured soldiers provided LQT with the experience and knowledge of how to best help these future soldiers develop the skills they would need to become exceptional soldiers. A year later, the results speak for themselves: less than a 1% dropout rate by LQT participants and 7 Basic Honors graduates (compared to the record of 2 from previous years). Shortly after, Marine Corps DEPS joined and thus a new evolution in LQT began.
In February 2011, the hard work of CW Conner, and the many volunteers he led, allowed LQT to hire its first employees. These employees were necessary to help provide the massive amounts of manpower needed to run the organization as well as provide the men and women LQT serves with continuity of services. The additional blessing this provided CW and Grove was the ability to hire 2 veterans John Wall and Herman Herrera, who had been helping soldiers in the program as volunteers after they themselves had graduated from it.
Today, LQT has directly touched the lives of over 900 Soldiers, Airmen, Coastguard, and Marines including future recruits. LQT considers itself a complete military transitional organization, dedicated to helping any service man or woman (and their family) as they transition into, though, and/or out of the military. As a community-based organization, LQT has accepted the challenge of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullins and his assistant Col. David Sutherland, to help facilitate the creation of a community blueprint to support our military neighbors and their families.
LQT is thankful for the support of the Colorado Springs community. It is CW and Groves unwavering belief that this is our moral obligation as a community and that together, the Colorado Springs Community, through donations, volunteerism, and other community actions, can ensure that no veteran goes unrecognized and none is left to live under a bridge. Together, we can make Colorado Springs the model held up for the nation, caring for our veterans and supporting our military.
It is your choice and challenge to make change. LQT is there to lead the way.
Wounded Warriors and Families
Wounded soldiers in the United States military suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, often with accompanying physical injuries, have been recognized as needing additional transitional rehabilitative services. The Army Warrior Transition Battalions (WTB) were created to address this specific need. LQTs program is designed as a compliment to the Army’s transitional programs, which works with these men and women to help ensure a successful life-transition from wounded soldier to healthy soldier or veteran serving in the civilian community.
The second group that warrants concentrated attention is the family and children of these soldiers. LQT is focused on facilitating growth and change through adventure camps and an on-going health and fitness programs that bring the families of these soldiers together. By addressing the development of transitional life skills within the family, LQT will help foster the foundation that will enable the children and families to effectively reform the bonds strained by deployment and trauma experienced by the soldier. LQT currently provides camps for children and is developing camps for families and mentor-child pairings, for both civilian and military populations.