Jun. 7, 2012
The Team River Runner Leadership Conference and Rendezvous began Monday at Garrett College and the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI). More than 65 wounded warriors are participating in outdoor and indoor learning exercises and activities. This event is one of a number of community service activities coordinated and hosted by ASCI.
Team River Runner (TRR), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, gives active duty service members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating and other paddling sports.
“The benefits of TRR have as much to do with creating a social network and support system as they do with learning water sports skills that provide an exciting adventure lifestyle that suddenly seemed lost due to injury,” a spokesperson said. “The program also encourages family members to participate whenever possible.”
In this process, paddlers are put through a step-by-step approach in which they learn to control a kayak in a pool, and then they move to ASCI, which provides a controlled environment where they are introduced to whitewater. The participants then move on to rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they gain additional experience and skills.
Leadership training is being provided in cooperation with the Continuing Education program at Garrett College.
“The college family looks forward to hosting these men and women, who have done so much for us,” said Dr. Rick MacLennan, president of the college. “We are pleased to be here to help them develop their growing management and adventure skills so they may take them home to share with veterans in their community.”
The conference is in its second year. It brings together vets from the TRR chapters around the country to help them with skills to run their chapters, the spokesperson said. The range of offerings includes topics such as the latest developments with adaptive equipment to sessions on how to accomplish local fundraising and recruit volunteers.
Monday’s kick-off speaker was Jeannette Rudy Fitzwater, who conducted a seminar on helping the participants identify their work and management styles to aid them in being able to communicate and work productively with staff and volunteers in their chapters.
The Rendezvous portion of this week’s event is in its 4th year. It brings back vets who have gone through the rehabilitation and therapy programs at Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed Army hospitals (and what are now combined as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) and gives them the opportunity to reconnect with one another. They are also encouraged to bring their families.
“A great deal of the healing process is with the families, and all too often they are excluded from events to which the vets are invited,” the spokesperson said.
Suzanne Nicolas, events coordinator at ASCI, said the support of the local community has been key in making the conference and rendezvous possible.
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