VAST WOW! What a Summer!
Wow! What a Summer.
Now that cooler weather seems to be just around the corner, it is time to take a look back at what we had going during the past couple of months. Plus, we have some VAST events coming up that we’d love to share with everyone.
Every Wednesday during July and August we set up the Archery Range in the Grove. After providing Archery for several years, we have an experienced group of Veteran volunteers that have become very adept at what needs to be done to get everything ready and how to run the range. The large number of participants this summer gave us a chance to use all our equipment including our new higher end compound bows. These had generously been donated by the Portland Rotary Club this year. Along with our expanded use of the equipment, our need for repairs to arrows and bows has expanded. Howells Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Gray, ME https://howellsgunshop.com/retail-store/ was very generous with their support in the form of repair expertise and advice on how to best use some of the equipment. We would also like to thank our volunteer, Navy Veteran Cheryl Munn-Watley, for stepping up to handle the technical side of our archery equipment maintenance.
Here’s a quick video look back at the 2018 Summer Archery session and beautiful Pineland Farms.https://www.dropbox.com/s/srikosx…/08-29-2018%20Archery.mp4…
We also made six more trips up to the Travis Mills Foundation Retreat in Rome. Despite having to compete with the swimming program on some of the hottest days of the year, the Veterans and their families really enjoyed a chance to learn a new skill since being injured or improve on one they had not practiced in a long time. One of the great parts about this program was watching the Veterans interact with each other and their family members. As one might expect it was not long before friendly competitions broke out. Lots of laugh when wives out -shot their husbands. And the kids were so excited just to be able to shoot an arrow even if they didn’t hit the target.
On July 27th, we had the opportunity to go sailing out of Portland on the Impossible Dream, a 60’ catamaran that was completely ADA WC accessible. This opportunity came from a referral from our friends at the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center in Carrabassett Valley, ME. It was even equipped with two lift systems that could lower and raise wheelchairs into the pontoons where the sleeping quarters are located. It was probably the largest non-military boat any of us had ever been on and it was a great day for viewing things from the water and just getting a chance to relax a bit.
On July 30th and September 10th, we were back at the Maine Veterans Home in South Paris, ME. This time we brought Archery to the Veterans! This activity was clearly a hit with the Veterans. We had several Veterans that were in their 90’s, but they were out there doing their best. Our adaptive bow support system made a big difference for many of them. It was so fun to hear a 95 year old laugh and say, “I’ve never done this before! Thank you!”. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the Staff and we are looking at way to keep this going. The smiles and sense of satisfaction when they hit the target was great to witness.
We were also able to support to Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation with the Wheelchair Tennis Program. We provide wheelchairs and racquets and obviously the courts are right there. While this is not strictly a Veteran oriented program, a couple of our VAST regulars do participate. We are planning on closing the season out on September 14 with more tennis and a BBQ lunch.
On August 19th, we brought our Boccia and Laser Rifles to the Veterans No Boundaries program at Camp Wavus. This program run by Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation is a Veterans and family members oriented program. We saw a number of our regular VAST members there enjoying the various activities. MASR runs both a winter and summer programs. If you are interested in participating contact us and we can put you in touch with the right folks.
Coming up, on September 13 we are back in Naples for a day of fishing. Last time we went out, the fish were on strike. This time we hope they will also be striking, but this time we hope it will be the lures! Tim Hoffman from Vets on the Water and the Moose Landing make this all possible by providing the boats including Tim’s new ADA accessible pontoon boat.
As we move into the Fall, we are breaking out the Mountain Bikes again and getting to use the Boccia Court we built last year. If you are not up for some challenging rides, feel free to join us to test your accuracy and skills on the Bocce court. It is surprising just how much fun the is. It is also sometimes surprising to see how our better players are.
Great weather yesterday as we transitioned to biking and Bocce! Check out the video!!
Also – picture is below