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By Dominique Gatto
Vermont Adaptive is proud to offer programs specifically designed for injured service members, Veterans with disabilities, and their families. Since the organization’s inception in 1987, we have worked with veterans with disabilities and evolved our programs to match the changes in the needs and interests of men and women who have been injured in the line of duty.
“We continue to increase our services, outreach, programs, training, and events for veterans with a disability on local, regional and national levels,” said Kelly Walsh Vermont Adaptive program coordinator and leader of the Veteran Ventures Program. “We also continue to help veterans’ families while they navigate their transitional journey through rehabilitation and recovery and regaining independence. Participation in our activities is very empowering — it can help reunite families, create new relationships and assist in major life transitions.”
Now, we offer weekly scheduled outings year-round plus weekend retreats, women’s weekends, excursions, and more.
“I attended the Veteran retreat in Killington a few years ago, and during that time, I felt like I had to be a part of this program and give back to it what I had thought it had given to me, not knowing that I would benefit immensely on a spiritual, physical and emotional level,” said Ret. SSG Misha Pemble-Belkin, who went on to intern with Vermont Adaptive and now oversees veteran outreach for us through our Veteran Ventures program.
To culminate this year’s winter season, eight veterans who participate in Vermont Adaptive’s program will be heading to Snowmass, CO with Walsh and Pemble-Belkin for the 32nd Annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, April 1-6.
“At Vermont Adaptive, we like to keep moving year-round,” said Walsh. “And if we can extend our time out on the slopes for a few more weeks, that’s cool with us. Our goal of going out west for the Winter Sports Clinic is to culminate activity after participating in Vermont Adaptive programs all winter.”
The goal of the Winter Sports Clinic is for athletes to reflect and search for a different outlook, a renewed sense of adventure, and to shatter barriers they thought were existed. The clinic is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to weekly programs on Thursday at Bolton Valley, and other select weekends at Sugarbush and Pico Mountain, Vermont Adaptive will host a Women’s Veterans Day of Adventure at Pico, March 24 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The day will include many activities like skiing, snowboarding, and more. All levels are welcome with equipment provided.