STRIVE4You understands the importance of everyone being as physically active as they can be and the many benefits that an active lifestyle can provide. This is especially true for our brave men and women who gave so much in service for our country, suffering not only physically, but mentally, as well. Therefore, STRIVE4You is proud to do our part to support these valiant individuals through our Veterans Healthy Tomorrow Initiative. Through this initiative, we want to provide opportunities, resources, and support for veterans with a visual or physical disability to take part in their favorite sport or recreational activities, while introducing new activities to engage them out of their sedentary lifestyle, providing many essential benefits for physical and mental health. That is why we are proud to announce our partnership with the National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events office through the Fy20 Adaptive Sports Grant.
Opportunities For Veterans
Through this initiative STRIVE4YOU will provide veterans opportunities to participate in:
- Intro To Adaptive Sports & Recreation Webinars- Webinars will be utilized to reach veterans through their local VA support groups such as the Blind Veterans Association (BVA), the Disabled Veterans Association (DVA), and local groups hosted by their VA coordinators. During these webinars, STRIVE team members will discuss the ARISE Access to Inclusion plan giving an introduction on how to adapt recreational and sporting activities to meet their needs, current opportunities/resources available to veterans, and activities that can be brought to their local area such as Adaptive Sports Days and ongoing programming. These two-hour webinars will be offered through video and audio conferencing to meet the needs of all veterans.
- Adaptive Sports Days- These six-hour Sports Days allow participants to play multiple adapted mainstream and disability-specific sporting activities. Some activities are beep kickball/baseball, 5-a-side soccer, Archery, boccia, bowling, disc golf, yoga and fitness, and goalball. Additional sports may be added based on the availability of resources and feasibility.
Up to three activities are preselected by the VA group organizer to be offered during the event. STRIVE4You provides the equipment and a team of 2-3 presenters to help facilitate the activities by traveling to the event location to provide services on-site. Everything is FREE to participants including lunch and any facility rentals needed to facilitate the activities.
- Competitive Tournament & Camps- STRIVE4You will be hosting three tournaments in Nashville, Tennessee, during the next twelve months to raise the competitive spirit of disabled veterans and other athletes across the country. These tournaments include the annual Star-Spangled Goalball Tournament (three-day event usually held in July), the annual Bowling Bonanza (one-day event in August), and the Southeast Classic Beep Kickball Tournament (one-day event in April). Additionally, we will be facilitating a Seniors Division in the sport of Goalball including an introduction camp and competition (TBO). STRIVE4You will provide scholarships to veterans from around the country to assist them with travel and lodging expenses to attend each event. We will also provide sports equipment for those veterans that may not have the basic safety equipment needed to compete.
- Annual Adaptive Sports Conference- This unique firsthand three-day conference features interactive and informational breakout sessions designed to encourage attendees to participate in adaptive sports. Previous year’s sessions offered tandem cycling, bowling, archery, goalball, run/walk with a guide, ballroom dancing, exercise and fitness classes, water aerobics, and nutrition classes. Additional nonathletic presentations covering other disability-related topics and resources are also given. This conference is perfect for people with disabilities as well as professionals serving this population. The conference was recognized by the Paralympic Sports Club Committee as a featured Paralympic experience. STRIVE4You will provide scholarships to veterans for all travel expenses and registration fees to attend the event. Grant funding is also available to cover registration fees for VA Staff to attend on a first come first serve bases.
- Intro Self-Defense Workshops- Introductory Self-Defense Workshops are full-day (six hours) firsthand training classes that offer open discussions, question and answer time, and a chance to experience the effectiveness of a self-defense technique firsthand. These workshops also serve as an excellent forum on safety education, the legalities of self-defense, and personal rights.
- Instructor Certification Training- The SEED Instructor Certification Training is a six-to-nine-month process that extensively explores individual safety education and self-defense. It includes online independent studies, in-person three-day intensive training, and hours of mentorship by experienced Advanced Instructors. After completion, veterans and VA staff will be certified in the SEED system and can teach ongoing classes locally in their communities. STRIVE4YOU will provide veterans with lodging, travel, meals, and certification fee for the first year. Additional funding is available for VA staff’s certification fees for the first year so they may attend and be certified on a first come first serve bases.
- Firsthand Training Retreat- For the veterans that hope to learn how to defend themselves but do not have any desire to become a qualified instructor, STRIVE4You offers the Firsthand Training Retreat opportunity. This three-day in-person intensive training acts as a crash course on safety education and self-defense. Again, STRIVE4YOU will provide veterans with all travel and lodging expenses, Per Diems for food, and their registration fee into the event.
Opportunities For VA Professionals & Community Partners
STRIVE4YOU will also support VA professionals and community partners as they strive to provide ongoing adaptive recreation & sports activities for veterans with disabilities. Opportunities for these professionals include some of the above-mentioned events such as the Intro Webinars, participation in the Adaptive Sports Days & annual conference, and both the Intro Self-Defense workshops & the Instructor Certification training. Other professional specific offerings also include:
- Professional Development Workshops- These workshops are designed to teach VA professionals how to adapt recreational and sports activities for veterans with disabilities. They are a full day of training (six hours) with a portion of the time spent participating in simulation training and learning in an interactive classroom-style setting. After completion, participants will be familiar with the diverse types of adaptive sports equipment and receive resource handouts such as the STRIVE4You ARISE Access to Inclusion Training Manual. STRIVE4You will bring all the equipment needed and will provide two instructors that will travel to the location of the VA agency to conduct these training sessions. These informative workshops are perfect for VA program administrators, coaches, recreation therapists, instructors, and other professionals within the VA and the surrounding community wishing to serve veterans through adaptive sports.
- Strategic Planning Sessions- The VA staff and other support professionals will be matched with an ARISE Adaptive Sports Consultant to develop a comprehensive plan for ongoing programs in their local communities through Strategic Planning Sessions following the successful completion of at least one Professional Development Workshop. ARISE consultants will provide special support and advanced training on the latest techniques, tools, and resources available for new or existing sports and recreation activities. Agencies will receive up to 10 hours of one-on-one planning sessions with their consultant, plus an in-person onsite session.
- Equipment Assistance Program- STRIVE4You will help its partner agencies, as part of their Strategic Planning, to purchase adaptive sports equipment for veterans to facilitate the ongoing programs. Each agency will be eligible for up to $3,000 in equipment – purchased by STRIVE and then shipped to the agency. The equipment will be stored and maintained by the partnering agency as part of a loan program and will be returned to STRIVE4You (terms outlined in an MOU between the two organizations). This is offered on a first come first serve bases. Agencies must first participate in a Professional Development Workshop and be actively working with an ARISE Adaptive Sports Consultant.
All STRIVE4YOU team members have experience and training, have undergone an extensive background check, are fully Covid vaccinated, and are certified in their respective program curriculum. If your agency does not have facilities to host your desired event, your team leader will work to secure a facility. In some cases, we can help provide ground transportation for the group or individual veterans to the event. Lunch, equipment, training materials and sanitation products will be provided. We understand Covid19 concerns and will work closely with your group to ensure all recommended CDC protocol are followed including any specific agency or local requirements. Our team members will work hard to ensure we tailer any needs to your specific agency or group to ensure everyone has an exciting experience!
Ensuring A High Quality Experience
What makes STRIVE4YOU unique is that all our program curriculum & service offerings are vigorously reviewed by our STRIVE4YOU Evaluation Council prior to it ever reaching our clients. This council is made up of both Educational & Content Specialist that review our curriculum to ensure it meets the highest educational and industry standards. The Evaluation Council adds a level of safeguarding that authenticates that we are providing relative and quality content at the highest level.
Continuing Education Service Provider
STRIVE4YOU is proud to be recognized as a continuing education provider by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP). Which means that several of our offerings under this initiative are eligible for CEU credits for professionals to help sweeten the deal!
We are so thankful for our initiative partners and sponsors like the VA National Sports & Special Events Program’s Adaptive Sports Grant that because of their generous contributions all the opportunities under the Veteran’s Healthy Tomorrow Initiative is completely FREE to you and your veterans!!
We anticipate a full schedule over the next year as we facilitate the STRIVE4YOU Veteran’s Healthy Tomorrow Initiative with over 16 current agency partners requesting services and many others will continue to join that list. Funding from the Adaptive Sports Grant in some cases are first come first serve, so do not delay contacting us to schedule any of the above services. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-866-40STRIVE (78748). A team member is waiting to help you STRIVE for a better you!