Wounded Warriors Mentor Children with Special Needs at STRIDE Adaptive Sports Adirondack Camping Retreat

This unique camping experience pairs soldiers /marines/veterans who have sustained injuries in deployment with STRIDE youth athletes who have similar disabilities, serving as a therapeutic collaboration between them. The youth athletes, who are chil

Soldiers and Marines are well-versed in leading from the front and working as a team. These ideals will be "called into action" during the third annual Wounded Warrior Fall Family Adirondack Camping Retreat at Moreau State Park in Glens Falls, New York for the September 24th-26th weekend. This special event and unique experience pairs Wounded Warriors who have returned from deployment with permanent injuries with STRIDE youth athletes who live their lives with similar disabilities. This partnership serves as a therapeutic collaboration where children with disabilities learn more about civic duty and current events from our nation's heroes and soldiers become rehabilitated by seeing the challenges these young people living with disabilities have learned to face every day.

Together, Wounded Warriors and members of their family, along with the STRIDE youth athletes, participate in activities including kayaking, canoeing, a falconry bird demonstration, whitewater rafting and scenic train rides. One Wounded Warrior participant, Brian Fontaine, a Massachusetts resident and double amputee, is bringing MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for all of the campers so they may experience meals that soldiers eat. The weekend was formed as a strategic partnership where soldiers and children learn, heal and essentially have fun with one another. Soldiers and children are introduced via email and are encouraged to contact one another as 'pen-pals' before the camping weekend. Meals, general camping gear, transportation and gifts are provided for all of our participants. Local VFWs donate funds to cover a portion of program costs. STRIDE, Inc. continues to seek assistance from Corporate Sponsors and individuals to help underwrite the weekend event, which hosts approximately 40 participants. During the camping weekend, the Lansingburgh VFW donates steak dinners for all of the campers and members of the VFW arrive at the campsite on Saturday night to prepare the meals and interact with the participants

The event, a first of its kind program nationwide, and was created in 2008 in collaboration with Katie Moshier, whose husband Captain Timothy J. Moshier ('02) was Killed in Action, who first hand understood the importance of connecting with the military community. "When I moved back to the Albany area after Tim was killed, I yearned for the connectedness I had felt within the military community. This event empowers everyone involved. Together, anything is possible."

STRIDE has been hosting Wounded Warrior winter events for the past three years, teaching skiing and snowboarding at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in MA, but camping trips are something the organization knows well. For over 20 years, STRIDE has been providing outdoor camping experiences for local youth at various New York State Park and Recreation facilities.

For more information on this event and other STRIDE related events, visit www.stride.org

About STRIDE Inc.

PO Box 778
Rensselaer, NY