Sports Camps Offer New Life Perspective

 

BVA and Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS), a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, are partnering in January to host a weeklong “Higher Ground” snow sports camp for visually impaired wounded OIF and OEF service members who are always referred to as Warriors during the program.

The purpose of the camp is to introduce or reacquaint Warriors to various winter sports activities. They include skiing, snowboarding, sit-skiing, ice skating, sled hockey, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and paragliding. Each activity is adapted to the specific needs and abilities of participating Warriors.

Evening activities include fine dining, live music, bowling, and relaxation in an outdoor heated pool.

Sergeant Jason and Suzetta Waterhouse at last year’s Sun Valley Adaptive Sports winter camp for blind and visually impaired service members. Photo courtesy of Craig Wolfrom, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports.
Sergeant Jason and Suzetta Waterhouse at last year’s Sun Valley Adaptive Sports winter camp for blind and visually impaired service members. Photo courtesy of Craig Wolfrom, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports.

“These Warriors may come to Sun Valley for a week, but their experience will affect them for a lifetime,” said Tom Iselin, SVAS Executive Director.

“Joining our program is essentially joining a family that provides all Warriors with the resources needed to achieve their aspirations in work, school, relationships, and all aspects of life,” said Bert Gillette, Higher Ground Program Coordinator.

Spouses and significant others participate with Warriors in all snow sports activities, including private instruction. They have a special “spa day” and other opportunities to spend quality time with other spouses. Such activities facilitate the sharing of experiences and the chance to offer support to one another.

The Higher Ground program hosts eight annual therapeutic sports camps featuring water sports, snow sports, and fly fishing. Each event hosts six Wounded Warriors, their significant others, and a mentor from past programs. There is no cost to the Warrior and significant other. This includes all airfare, lodging, meals, instruction, equipment, and entertainment.

What visually impaired warriors have said about the SVAS experience:


Chris Paiser, Army—“The event showed me I wasn’t broken. It gave me the chance to feel like a soldier again. I can’t wait to go home and show my son I can snowboard with him.”

Ivan Castro, Special Forces—“This is the most therapeutic and fun event I’ve attended since my injury. Adaptive Sports is setting the standard for helping service members heal.”

John Crabtree, Navy—“The format of this event was like no other. I had no idea it would have such a profound effect on my wife and me. I’ll be a better husband and father because of it.”

For more information or to apply for a sports program, go to www.svasp.org or contact Bert Gillette at 208-726-9298, Ext. 117, or send an email to bert@svasp.org.