Battle Creek VA Recreational Therapy partnered with two local nonprofits to introduce paddle boarding to veterans in August. There is a powerful combination of social interaction, connection and the healing impact of water activities.
Water activities may not be for everyone, but for some veterans it can be a lifesaver. The power of veteran sports and recreation therapy was on full display at Long Lake in Portage, Michigan.
Recreation therapy staff ferried veterans to Ramona Park, where 4THE22 hosted a barbecue and beach games. It was then time to get in the water. “Before you knew it, all the veterans were up and paddling,” said Navy veteran Josh Flath, of 4THE22. “There were a few falls, but the veterans overcame and enjoyed the introduction to paddling.
4THE22 provided ground safety briefings, all equipment and paddleboard instruction during the event. With their motto “Bringing Balance to Veterans’ Lives”, they strive to help others find balance and purpose through the therapeutic activities of stand-up paddling, surfing and exercise.
Paddleboarding can help reduce stress and anxiety
“Padling has helped me a lot,” Flath continued. “I am delighted to share this sport with other veterans. »
Warriors to Waves also provided instructors and participated in the event. Often focused on higher adrenaline hydrotherapy, they planned to launch e-foilboards but had to cancel due to high winds on the lake. Warriors to Waves instructors have helped newbie veterans get into the water slide and seek to overcome the challenge of learning.
“Water therapy instills the ethos of a warrior,” said Marine Corps veteran Mathew MacLeod of Warriors to Waves. “Aquatic therapy relieves muscle and bone using the buoyancy of water. Being in the water also helps reduce stress and anxiety. It’s really a great way to bring veterans together.
It is important to have social and recreational activities for veterans in the communities where they live. Working with community organizations like these is key to helping veterans learn positive activities that foster camaraderie. It is a moving experience to see the healing impact of water in action.
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