June 18, 2024
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What do you get whenever you collect individuals within the identify of camaraderie, journey, and dedication to service? Vacation spot Defender 2023, held earlier this month at Iron Horse Ranch in Somerville, Texas. The weekend-long occasion celebrates the long-lasting Defender, a automobile made to embrace the inconceivable, with a legacy of supporting the individuals and nonprofit organizations that do the identical. That’s why Vacation spot Defender pairs pure journey with pure selflessness, placing the unsung heroes of our communities entrance and heart the place they belong.

In the course of the November weekend, Defender lovers gathered to expertise quite a lot of out of doors actions like kayaking and mountain biking, pattern flavorful dishes ready by particular visitor cooks, hear reside music by prime artists like Fitz and the Tantrums, and grasp off-road expertise courtesy of a closed course and a fleet of Defenders.

Identical to Defender itself, the weekend was an ideal mix of heart-pumping journey and refined residing—all dropped at life over two action-packed days. Every day began with yoga, path runs, and breakfast burritos, after which rolled proper into the high-action actions: off-road driving, health challenges, mountain biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and extra. When you wished to problem your self, there have been choices in every single place you turned. In between, attendees loved interactive cooking demos, slackline performances, panel discussions, and popup jam classes on the smokehouse. Each night, the nights full of live shows and, on Saturday, an epic drone mild present.

Destination Defender
Throughout Vacation spot Defender, attendees had the chance to grasp off-road expertise courtesy of a closed course and a fleet of Defenders. (Picture: Defender)

That’s the place the enjoyable begins at Vacation spot Defender, however undoubtedly not the place it ends. The gathering additionally included the much-anticipated announcement of the 2023 Defender Service Awards winners. The Defender Service Awards program, now in its third yr, rewards U.S. and Canadian nonprofits that give again to their communities in distinctive and efficient methods. For the six class winners, it’s a recreation changer: they get a custom-made Defender 130 and $25,000 money from the class sponsor. Finalists make out fairly effectively too, with a $5,000 prize courtesy of presenting sponsor CHASE and $2,500 from premier sponsor Warner Bros. Discovery.

This yr, greater than 600 organizations submitted video entries for the awards. After an intensely aggressive spherical of public voting, the next nonprofits took prime honors on the awards gala on November 11.

Youth Sports activities Alliance, Utah

Class: Outside Accessibility and Training Award, introduced by Outdoors Interactive

Is there something extra vital than getting children exterior? The Youth Sports activities Alliance thinks not, as a result of overwhelming proof reveals that energetic children do higher in life—bodily, emotionally, socially, and financially. To that finish, the nonprofit gives winter sports activities packages and scholarships for younger athletes within the northern Utah space, benefiting greater than 2,000 kids annually. And that quantity is about to develop. With the Defender 130, increasing entry to the outside will get loads simpler, says Emily Fisher, govt director at Youth Sports activities Alliance. “With the ability to supply transportation and transfer mountain bikes, skis, and different gear removes a major barrier to participation,” Fisher says. It would additionally save on automobile rental prices, the nonprofit’s largest expense till now, says Fisher, enabling YSA to place extra money into rising packages.

Youth Sports Alliance
Youth Sports activities Alliance is the winner of the Outside Accessibility and Training Award, introduced by Outdoors Interactive. (Picture: Youth Sports activities Alliance)

Manitoba Underdogs Rescue, Manitoba

Class: Animal, Wildlife, and Marine Welfare Award, introduced by Animal Planet

The excellent news: This Canadian canine rescue group helps a whole bunch of canines discover properties annually. The unhealthy: Circumstances could be excessive within the harsh Manitoba winters—and rescuing canines doesn’t have an low season. It’s crucial that volunteers can journey safely by snow and chilly, says Jessica Hansen, govt director of Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. The answer: Defender 130, with its adjustable suspension and four-wheel-drive traction, will guarantee rescuers can attain canines in want in all situations. Plus, says Hansen, “The Defender’s highly effective engine and durable suspension serve twin functions for us. When touring alongside our cargo van, the Defender’s all-wheel drive and horsepower will help in recovering the van ought to it fall sufferer to tough highway situations. And the automobile’s sturdy construct can deal with the substantial weight of pet food for communities in want.”

Manitoba Underdogs Rescue
Manitoba Underdogs Rescue is the winner of the Animal, Wildlife, and Marine Welfare Award, introduced by Animal Planet. (Picture: Manitoba Underdogs Rescue)

Kairos Adventures, Florida

Class: Neighborhood Providers Award, introduced by ei3

Empowerment doesn’t get any higher than this. This Florida-based group makes use of artwork, efficiency, and music to assist individuals who’re in a different way abled discover their skills and thrive in a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. The most well-liked exercise each week? “Thursday Serve days,” throughout which these outstanding individuals rally to go to nursing properties, work at animal shelters, and help meals banks. With the Defender 130’s eight-person capability, says govt director Heather Subbert, Kairos Adventures can transport a whole service group and nonetheless have room for a wheelchair or walker, because of the Defender’s superior cargo capability.

Kairos Adventures
Kairos Adventures is the winner of the Neighborhood Providers Award, introduced by ei3. (Picture: Kairos Adventures)

Squamish Search and Rescue Society, British Columbia

Class: Search, Rescue, and Emergency Assist Providers Award, introduced by PELICAN

For the Squamish Search and Rescue Society, reaching individuals in want is made doubly tough by the area’s distant, tough backcountry terrain. However that doesn’t cease these SAR consultants from making an attempt—and now they’ll be a lot better outfitted to succeed. “We consider that the Defender 130’s superior off-road capabilities, distinctive floor clearance, and four-wheel-drive system will allow us to navigate difficult terrain extra effectively and attain victims quicker and extra safely,” says staff member Nathalie White. “Finally, it is going to develop our attain to much more distant places throughout emergency conditions.”

Squamish Search and Rescue Society
Squamish Search and Rescue Society is the winner of the Search, Rescue, and Emergency Assist Providers Award, introduced by PELICAN. (Picture: Micheal Overbeck)

Honour Home Society, British Columbia

Class: Veteran and Civil Servant Outreach Award, introduced by Hearts and Science 

Previously, when Canadian veterans got here to Vancouver for medical remedy, they struggled to search out an reasonably priced place to remain. Now, they will reside at Honour Home, a free refuge that homes sufferers and their households. And at Honour Ranch, a distant refuge on 120 acres of primal British Columbian land, veterans get free PTSD remedy. However accessing and managing the ranch requires a reliable all-conditions automobile, which the nonprofit hasn’t had—till now. With the Defender 130, says volunteer and veteran Dave Hodgson, “I can repair issues like water leaks and frozen pipes with out getting caught myself.”

Charleston Animal Society, South Carolina

Class: 2021 and 2022 Defender Service Award Honoree

The primary two years of the Defender Service Awards revealed this fact: there are loads of nonprofits doing unbelievable work that’s deserving of a Defender. So a brand new class in 2023 acknowledges finalists from the previous two years who had been eligible to win a particular class recognizing their exhausting work and dedication. Charleston Animal Society took residence the inaugural prize, successful a custom-made Defender 130. Based in 1874, Charleston Animal Society was the primary animal welfare group in South Carolina and one of many first within the nation. Its mission has not modified in some 150 years: forestall cruelty to animals. “The automobile’s all-terrain efficiency and welcome cargo capability will assist us attain animals in distant areas and transport them to security,” says Bryant Taylor, the nonprofit’s emergency response and preparedness director. “We’re frequently known as upon by different animal organizations to assist transfer animals out of hurt’s means when they’re impacted by cruelty, neglect, harmful hurricanes, flooding, and different storms,” Taylor explains. “Additionally, because the nation continues to cope with a nationwide veterinary scarcity, we are going to use the Defender to move animals in want of medical care.

Charleston Animal Society
Charleston Animal Society is the 2021 and 2022 Defender Service Award Honoree. (Picture: Charleston Animal Society)

Up Subsequent: Award Winner’s Weekend

Now it’s time for every of those deserving nonprofits to fulfill their custom-made Defender 130. At Award Winner’s Weekend in early February 2024, on the Land Rover Expertise Heart on the Biltmore Property, the six nonprofits will collect for an unveiling of their newly wrapped automobiles. However earlier than they hit the highway, they’ll get schooled in off-roading. The winners will full an immersive off-roading lesson to equip them with all the abilities they’ll have to put the automobiles to work serving their communities.


Defender embraces the inconceivable. A contemporary-day hero that anticipates the longer term. Obtainable in 90, 110, and 130 physique types, with as much as eight seats, every has a charisma of its personal. Be taught extra at landroverusa.com.

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