NATIONAL VETERANS SPECIAL EVENTS
The US Department of Veterans Affairs sponsors six national veteran events which are designed to help veterans with rehabilitation efforts and provide a national competition around sports and creative arts. The six events are: The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic; the National Disabled Veterans Tee Tournament, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the National Summer Sports Clinic, the National Veterans Golden Age Games, and the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.
DVOP specialists may have an interest in these events. Some of the veterans you serve might benefit from participating in one of the events in terms of overcoming or mitigating any disability they might have. VA’s web site (https://www.va.gov/adaptivesports) emphasizes the value of the events to veterans. The web page reads, “Your courage, your determination and your drive all led you to serve America proudly. Those same characteristics will also lead to satisfaction and success in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans who are physically active simply have more fun! To get started, take some time to review the many sports opportunities available to you by reaching out to your VA clinical team and checking out this website.”
Participation in the events is generally managed through a VA medical facility and the veteran’s health care provider team. Networking with your local or nearby VA medical facility can help you connect your veteran-client with the appropriate VA person. In addition, VA has grants to assist “members of the Armed Forces (ASG Program) provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities disabled Veterans and members of the Armed Forces have to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels.”
While the six events are each held in a specific locality in the US, participants come from across the US. In 2018, the six events will be held in the following locations:
Winter Sports Clinic: Snowmass, CO, April 1-7, 2018. Applications close on December 15, 2017, so it may be too late to register for this coming year. However, like the other five national programs, this is an annual event and you should make a note on your 2018 calendar to check on the Clinic in August 2018.
Wheelchair Games: Orlando, FL, Jul 30-Aug 4, 2018. Registration runs from January 1- April 15, 2018.
Golden Age Games: Albuquerque, NM, August 3-8, 2018. Registration runs from April 2-May 2, 2018.
Tee Tournament (golf and bowling): Iowa City, IA, September 10-14, 2018. Registration is from December 1, 2017- April 1, 2018
Summer Sports Clinic: San Diego, CA, September 16-21, 2018. Registration is November 1, 2017-April 1, 2018.
Creative Arts Festival: Des Moines, IA, October 29-November 4, 2018. This competition includes 51 categories in the visual arts division that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 100 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing: Unlike the other national programs, individuals compete locally before they apply to the National event. The deadline for national submissions is March 23, 2018.
All the programs, except the Winter Clinic, typically move from city to city each year and are hosted by a VA medical facility. Community volunteers are almost always needed. As a DVOP specialist, not only can you volunteer, but you can also find participants who can benefit from your assistance.
While large employers help sponsor most events, local businesses may be involved in a host of ways from being volunteers to providing food to participants. As an LVER, you can find businesses at these events who want to hire veterans and have demonstrated a commitment to the veteran community.
Information about all the programs, including a one-page colorful flyer, is available at: https://www.va.gov/adaptivesports.