In the midst of the devastation of Hurricane Irene here in the Northeast and the resulting day-to-day struggles many of our friends and loved ones face as a result of the storm, it is comforting to know that we are associated with an organization that has a mission to help people heal and change their lives as they deal with their day-to-day challenges of life with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

When everything around us gets uprooted, when our environment unleashes its fury and disrupts the safety of our homes, when one event changes our total perspective and priorities in life – we get a small glimpse into the eyes of those who suffer from the traumas of life, of war, and of catastrophic events.

It is with this perspective in mind that I write this article about our Warriors in Motion program, an ASF program supported by the Wounded Warrior Project. We are so proud to have created a series of workshops and events that continues to help warriors heal as they participate in fun, healthy, and educational outdoor activities in the supportive culture of ASF.

It is so gratifying to see our ASF community grow as new program participants, the warriors themselves, become instrumental parts of new events and workshops, becoming mentors and ASF volunteers themselves.

We gave the kayaks a team building exercise at the Burden Lake Extravaganza - getting from one side of the lake to the other

For me, this program highlights the essence of what we do at ASF- when life feels like a storm has swept you away, you can take comfort knowing that in the understanding and supportive environment of the ASF family, along with healthy outdoor group activity, you can heal, you can adapt, you can go on, you can share, you can smile again… and you can help others.

We gave the kayaks a team building exercise at the Burden Lake Extravaganza – getting from one side of the lake to the other
Applied Coaching and Teaching (ACT) and Sports, Outdoor Activity and Recreation (SOAR) Workshops –
During the summer, we conducted a series of ACT programs on learning how to become an outdoor educator. Using adventure-based counseling and experiential learning formats, we learned about coaching outdoor sports, the psychological benefits of outdoor education, and opportunities for outdoor educators. We concluded the summer ACT series with an instructor training course, focusing on what it takes to become an ASF summer volunteer.

The SOAR workshops take place in September. We have courses planned in Kinesiology and Sports Nutrition; Introduction to Cycling; and Strength Training for Personal Wellness. The first two workshops are being planned during the same week, thus becoming like one big ASF event, and concludes with a 15-mile group road ride. Because of Hurricane Irene, this week-long SOAR event will take place in Vermont.

For each workshop, we blend outdoor experiences, reflective learning, yoga and meditation, and group team-building activities.

Summer Burden Lake Extravaganza –
ASF welcomed wounded warrior families and individuals to its annual Burden Lake Extravaganza. We had beautiful weather and a weekend full of water sports, land games, camaderie and yoga. Thanks to all of our volunteers and participants for making it such an enjoyable time for all. Thanks to our ACT participants who worked both behind-the-scenes and in front-line jobs to make the event run smoothly and heart-felt.

 
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