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Wounded Warriors & Kids with Disabilities: A Match Made at Boot Camp

(West Sand Lake, NY, 08/05/2021) – Veterans know the importance of service and teamwork when communities are in need. STRIDE Adaptive Sports helps rejuvenate this ethos as it pairs combat-injured veterans and kids with disabilities together in an annual “Boot Camp” retreat for mutual growth and healing. This year’s retreat will take place in Chatham from August 12th – 16th at STRIDE’s adaptive summer camp known as SCORE Camp. Participation is free for the veterans and children thanks to a generous grant from Warfighter Sports, a division of Move United Sports (formerly known as Disabled Sports USA).

Activities include tent camping, hiking, military education, yoga, a day at Jiminy Peak Aerial Adventure Park, bonfires, fishing, archery, and a steak dinner cooked by Veterans of Lansingburgh. According to STRIDE CEO, Mary Ellen Whitney, recreation therapy is known to improve the mood and life of veterans with disabilities acquired during combat. “There’s research that adaptive sports and recreation significantly lower the amounts of tension, depression and anger that veterans with disabilities experience,” said Whitney. “Warfighter Sports has funded STRIDE with a grant so we can train veterans to experience these benefits. Now in our 15th year matching veterans with youth, we have seen the lasting effects.”

STRIDE’s Program Director, Megan Evans, further explains the importance of the children and their participation. “STRIDE believes that healing and growth happen not only from receiving, but from giving back. Veterans are natural leaders and mentors, and many are surprised to discover how much they have in common with the kids and how much they can learn from them. It’s a win-win situation, and we are so happy to create these pairings that can change lives.”

Questions about STRIDE Programs can be directed to Megan Evans, Program Director, at 518-598-1279, [email protected]. Information on sponsorship opportunities can be obtained from Patrick Hayslett, Development Director, at 518-598-1279, [email protected].  



Celebrating 35 years, STRIDE Adaptive Sports is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides over 11,000 adaptive sport and recreation lessons each year to individuals with disabilities, focusing on youth and Wounded Warriors. With a focus on individual life-time sports, STRIDE programs use specialized equipment or teaching aids for successful participation to “level the playing field” for all. STRIDE is a partner member of MoveUnited Sports (formerly Disabled Sports USA) and Professional Ski Instructors of America; a US Paralympic Sport Club; a training club for Special Olympics; and an official Red Cross provider. STRIDE is recognized as one of the leading adaptive sport programs in the Northeastern United States. 

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