Valhalla Project Programs
By establishing itself on a large rural tract, the Valhalla Project will be capable of offering a wide, ever-expanding range of activities that will have both an immediate and long-term ameliorative effect on participants in the area of personal adjustment, stress management, personal and financial responsibility, family values, work ethic, and practical experience and training in adaptation to a civilian or non-combat environment.
The Valhalla Project plans to provide the following programs initially, and plans to add other programs for participants as the project analyzes its experiences in providing the initial programs:
• Construction program – the idea of making something permanent, tangible, and valuable is hugely empowering. The Valhalla Project’s center will be constructed from the ground up with the help of participating soldiers and combat zone civilians, providing opportunities for them to learn sustainable building techniques, such as straw bale construction and rainwater harvesting systems.
• Alternative energy and energy conservation program – as appropriate to the land and property itself, participants will design and install solar and micro-hydro electrical generation as well as geothermal heating and cooling systems. Emphasis will also be placed on the eventual development and construction of convenient, practical, yet entirely non-electrical structures to include a root cellar, ice house, and greenhouse-styled laundry drying room for winter use.
• Agriculture and self-reliance program – Intensive gardening and cropping techniques will offer a proven path for stress relief and engender a sense of productivity. To the extent possible much of the food requirements for participants will be generated from the agriculture/livestock aspect of the center. Agriculture products will include vegetables – annual and perennial, and fruit vines and orchards. While it is possible that some agricultural product will be sold, in which case all proceeds will be applied to the operation of the center, the Valhalla Project expects that most, if not all, of the agricultural product will be consumed by participants on the property.
• Animal care and companionship program – livestock on the center will be selected for friendliness to humans, ease of care, and productivity. By having a wide variety of species available that require daily care and husbandry, participants will learn that they are important to the health and welfare of animals and poultry and that they can make a major difference in a creature’s life. The philosophy that “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person” applies here. Indicative of the kinds of creatures that will be raised are cows, goats, sheep, bees, rabbits, poultry, and donkeys.
• Wildlands and wildlife management program – working with University of Arkansas wildlife biologists and with Country Cooperative Extension consultants who provide no-charge advice and programs and with other professionals, participants will learn and carry out an array of native plant and wildlife habitat improvements, timber management, wildlife food plot planting, pest control and related projects.
• My-Valhalla program – each participant will be invited to design and create a personal, permanent marker or more extensive project on the property such as the placement of a stone with their name on it, planting a tree for a lost friend, building a portion of rock wall to commemorate a particular event or cherished entity, or whatever individual participants believe to be their best personal effort towards the permanency of the center that they themselves helped to build and/or maintain. All participants will be asked to help maintain the markers or projects left by others with acknowledgement of being a part of a community that values public service, personal sacrifice, mutual respect, and fellowship.
• Peer discussion and fellowship with concomitant oversight programs – perhaps one of the most widely recognized, effective means of adjustment. Some of Valhalla Project founding members have experience in arranging and monitoring similar programs. Participants will have the opportunity in a secure, collegial environment to discuss personal and professional issues with each other and within small formal and informal groups. Meals, work and recreational activities will be cooperative and provide a positive bonding experience.
• Creative exercises – opportunities to develop creativity through projects involving mosaics, tiles, dyeing, carpentry, stone construction, and others will be useful in stress relief and developing a sense of individual expression.
• Recreational and relaxation programs – While not the primary focus of the Valhalla Project, outdoor activities will be offered, including hiking and camping, hunting and fishing in season, archery and shooting, mapping and surveying, orienteering, fitness equipment, martial arts, and more.