Summer is in full swing at VAST
Every Wednesday VAST Archery July 4 – August 29.
It is hard to believe, but our VAST summer cycling season has come to an end. With great support from Maine Adaptive, and Northeast Passage with their specialized equipment and our own collection of mountain bikes, we have been able to outfit an average of over 20 participants a week.
Next up is the beginning of our archery season. The first day for archery is July 4th. We realize that is a holiday and folks may have other plans. But, if you can make it, we will have the range set up and operating. This program has been one of our most popular activities over the past few years. As we have gained experience, we have been making improvements to our equipment in both quality and quantity. For the first time ever, this year interested participants will have the opportunity to use one of our new competitive level compound bows. These are high end bows that we acquired through generous donations from the Portland Rotary Club and from our VA Grant from last year. These are new pieces of equipment that have several features that we do not have on our other bows. We are working to come up to speed with how best to use and adjust them. We are always looking for Veterans with high level archery experience to join our crew on Wednesdays to help assist.
VAST has been hitting the road this summer. A few of our Volunteers have made trips to the Maine Veterans Home in South Paris. We’ve been bringing laser rifles, Bocce and the Afari mobility device. It has been inspiring to see some of the great Veterans walking around for the first time in a long time using our Afaris to assist them. The smile on their faces tells the whole story. Many of the Veterans have enjoyed using our Laser Rifles. For one Veteran, it brought back memories of carrying a BAR through North Africa and Italy. He said he only fired a few shots and quickly changed positions before they could zero in on him. For other Veterans, Boccia has been a hit. Even at their advanced stage in life the competitive streak is still there!
On Sunday, June 10th, VAST participants travelled to Boothbay Harbor to enjoy a beautiful day out on the water and a BBQ lunch courtesy of the Boothbay Harbor Lobstermen’s Association. This was the second annual trip organized by former Marine, Phil Chapman. The weather was perfect and a great time was had by all.
Tuesday, June 12th, was another day on the water with a fishing trip to Brandy and Long Ponds in Naples. Tim Hoffman from Vets on the Water brought along his brand new pontoon boat and The Freedom Boat Club from Moose Landing Marina in Naples donated the use of another one. We even had some new Veterans join us from the South Paris Maine Veterans Home. Not a lot of fish were caught, but it was a great day all the same. Tim is always looking for ways to get Veterans out fishing, so there may be other opportunities in the future.
VAST has also hit the road this summer bringing archery instruction and equipment to Veterans attending the Travis Mills Foundation Retreat in Rome, ME. On Monday, June 25, VAST took its archery trailer up to the Travis Mills Foundation Retreat in Rome, Maine for the first of seven trips over the course of the summer. Travis runs week long programs for Veterans and their families. VAST started going up there last summer and our archery program was a fan favorite. It is great to see the Vets overcome their physical challenges. It is also great to see the competitiveness between Vets and between Vets and their spouses. Of course the kids are always trying to impress their parents and get really excited when they hit the target.