Pouches Learns About the Power of Play
Healing PTSD can be a challenge for veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam. In Fredericksburg, Lance Sharp, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator for Team River Runner, has launched a local chapter of Team River Runner to make water sports on Fredericksburg’s beautiful Rappahannock River and nearby lakes available to anyone with a visible or invisible injury.
“We don’t turn anyone away,” says Sharp. “We have 35 vets paddling, kayaking and canoeing, along with 85 volunteers to assist them. We also take any nonmilitary with disabilities in the area.
“We do everything from casual paddling to experienced white water paddling. Many veterans especially enjoy the adrenaline rush from white water kayaking or paddling. We like to keep a 2-to-1 volunteer to participant ratio and we adapt to any physical or mental injury. The team meets once a month for open water exercises and three times a month at the pool at the Ron Rosner YMCA in Spotsylvania from 8:30 to noon.”
All equipment is free, funded by the VA, the national Team River Runner organization and local fundraising.
Team River Runner’s mission is to provide all veterans and their families an opportunity to find health, healing, community purpose, and new challenges through adventure and adaptive paddle sports.
“TRR has brought so much joy to my stay at Perry Point VA Medical Center! I found my love for Kayaking and being on the open water and having those few hours of serenity and fun to forget about my difficulties and disability!” —Jen McGowan