Soul River Inc. “Runs Wild”

We are a nonprofit 501 c3 focus on bringing veterans as mentors and inner city youth together into the wild rivers of nature inspiring the youth by becoming a guardian, teacher or role model as an act of service into the outdoors. The hope is that it encourages youth participants to grow and become ambassadors of our natural environment.

(SRI) Uplifts and strengthens communities by connecting inner city youth and veterans to the outdoors. harnessing incredible opportunities and powerful experiences that forges strong connections between youth and veterans, their communities, and the natural world. Spending time embraced in currents of river water, trekking majestic forested trails, and witnessing a bald eagle or elk in its habitat is healing. Connecting with nature is a powerful outlet to reduce stress, find focus, sharpen self-awareness, embrace spirituality, and develop positive values beneficial to both the individual and community. Soul River unites youth and veterans on challenging yet rewarding adventures at zero cost where they become part of something bigger than themselves, developing into strong leaders in the outdoors and their communities.

(SRI) Teaches cannot be learned in a traditional classroom or on a city street. It takes practice to learn outdoor skills and time on the river and to develop leadership. Our wild rivers provides the ideal setting for this unique, experiential education Soul River Inc. classrooms are amphibious based on some of the world’s wildest and most awe-inspiring locations. We believe living and learning by our rivers in untouched places like a classrooms will teach students responsibility and veterans healing with a purpose.

Founder and President, Chad Brown, decorated US Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm/Shield Gulf War and Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, struggles today with PTSD. Chad Brown is an accomplished documentary style portrait photographer, creative director, adventurer, conservationist, and founder/president of a non-profit organization. He has a strong vein when it comes to outdoor adventure travel and documenting threatened wild spaces, as well as connecting the public to endangered areas by capturing and showing the true spirit of the people of these lands. He also produces intense, raw images of stylized dramatic documentary portraits by creatively using a bold approach, unique angles, and dramatic lighting. He is deeply interested in capturing moments of passion and the human spirit. Through his striking documentary portraits and photographic exhibitions, he showcases and advocates for social and environmental justice.

He studied communication design and photography at American Intercontinental University. He then attended Pratt Institute in NYC, where he earned Masters of Science in Communication Design. He has managed interdisciplinary teams as a creative director, art director and photographer for design firms and agencies as well as a freelance artist. His work has crossed into underground hip hop, fashion, and pop culture, photographing the streets of NYC and successfully presenting to one of the nation’s leading hip-hop culture business moguls, Russell Simmons and his business partner Rev Run and VP of Run Athletics developing creative campaigns and executing photoshoots for the New York Times magazine. His photography adventure assignments have lead him touring Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. He is also part of the less than 1% of world population who had been to Antartica. In fact, he has received the Antartica Service Medal for surviving more than 30 days on the Antarctic continent while he was serving in the Navy.

After leaving the hustle of New York City, he is now residing in Portland, Oregon. His career paths and his life have expanded beyond the realm of the traditional creative world. Mother Nature has played a significant role in his healing from war traumas he experienced as a Navy service member. His failed suicide attempt eventually led him to the launching of a non-profit organization unlike any other, called Soul River Inc. Soul River specializes in outdoors education and cultural expeditions Brown calls deployments. It brings together at-risk youth and Veterans as mentors and takes them into threatened wild spaces, providing mission-driven experiences where advocacy and outdoor education meet. His work has lead him to Capitol Hill, advocating for our public lands and wild places, bringing youth leaders of tomorrow and giving them an opportunity to interface with Congressional members.

Brown is a Boardmember of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. He has been featured on BBC, CBS, as well as in national publications such as Outside Magazine and The Drake, and in various Pacific Northwest publications. Additionally, Brown was the first recipient of the Breaking Barriers Award Presented by Orvis, as well as the Bending Toward Justice Award from Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

Chasing Ghosts

PTSD survivor and U.S. Navy veteran turned gear designer Chad Brown has a passion for fly fishing. He says it's his medicine, and now he wants inner-city youth and fellow vets to experience the sport's healing power for themselves.  

Click here for story

The PTSD River Cure


Oregon Field Guide

U.S. Navy veteran Chad Brown deals with his PTSD through fly-fishing. Now he’s bringing the art of fly-fishing to urban youth who lack access to nature and have their own issues to deal with.

Arctic Circle / Alaska Cross-Cultural 

Science Exploration

What happens when you merge inner-city youth and veterans together on a once-in-a-lifetime deployment to the top of the world’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Witness the relationships forged while experiencing Mother Nature and Her healing powers through the lens of a veteran and youth. Learn how conservation becomes another ‘participant’ and the experience is equally shared with arduous moments of valuable life lessons. Journey into wild Alaska with us as we then connect with Alaska Geographic youth on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. This is the stage where inner city youth become the teacher and veterans become the guide, all emerging in Alaska’s rugged yet pristine stage.

Oregon Field Guide OPB info

Founder of Soul River Inc. Chad Brown has fostered a deep bond between youth and veterans through his organization, Soul River Inc. His fly fishing trips not only help the youth learn lessons from nature, but create a family-like sense of trust and belonging. #GoldPeakatHome Sponsored by Gold Peak.


Tuesday9:00AM - 3:00PM
Wednesday9:00AM - 3:00PM
Thursday9:00AM - 3:00PM

Contact us

keep in touch

Soul River Inc

1926 N Kilpatrick St,

Suite B,

Portland, OR 97217

Phone. 503-954-7625

Email. fieldeducator@soulriverincrunswild.org