Personal experience motivates zWORKS startup founder
For Chris Jackson, recreational therapy has played an important factor in all aspects of his life.
Fly fishing was the form of recreational therapy he connected with the most. A few years ago, he went on a trip to Norway with Project Healing Waters and it changed his life.
“I experienced the intervention of recreation and outdoors in my life transitioning out of military service after being medically retired and transitioning into civilian life,” Jackson said. “Outdoor recreation was the vessel by which I experienced healing.”
Seven years ago, Jackson was living a very different life. He pulled apart roadside bombs for the U.S. Air Force; his title – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader.
His belief in recreational therapy began towards the end of his 12 years in the service. Not only did it play a part in his transition but it also played a part in his marriage.
“During our very first phone call, we shared our vision of where we wanted to be and what was important to us,” Jackson said. “Her philosophy and my philosophy – that’s what brought us together.”
His now-wife, Kylie Jackson, was a special needs educator and Jackson said she noticed a big difference in the lives of the kids that she was serving when she pulled them out of the classroom and into a very organic environment.
“It was tangible,” he said.
After he retired, he studied psychology, outdoor recreation and business. He calls his startup Revival Recreation “the marriage of 7 years of hard work”.
Revival Recreation does campsite hosting for families or groups that want a painless, baggage-free camping experience.
“For Revival as a takeoff from the life that I know – it’s very seamless honestly,” Jackson said. “I was used to solving very complex problems, albeit they were a little bit more lethal. I just needed a new skill set and the tools to do so and we spent the last 7 years doing that.”
For the Jacksons, Revival is all about fostering relationships between their clients and the outdoors. They have experienced a revival through recreation, so they want to help others do so as well.
“It’s very simple – it forces you to be in the moment,” Jackson said of the outdoors. “If you’re there and caught in the moment, it’s restorative. It was very simple for us to say, ‘Ok, let’s get people outside.’”
The Revival process starts with the client telling them where and when they want to go and then the Jacksons plan it all out. This includes equipment, site visits, set up, tear down as well as equipment sales if people like the rentals enough.
“Knowing that our clients are going outside of their comfort zone, placing that trust on us to facilitate that relationship with the outside – that’s what I love about it,” Jackson said.