Thank you Lancaster County! Your response during the Extra Give was outstanding. This year we raised $1,555 from 25 individual donations during the 24-hour Extra Give event…that’s over 20% of our 2017 operating budget goal of $5,000.
So, what will we be using these funds for? What does our 2017 programming look like? What’s the big deal…
Well, let’s talk about 2017…
Early in the year we plan on continuing our pool sessions through spring. We use these sessions to build basic skill sets so that when the weather warms we can get out on the water. Hempfield Rec Aquatics donates pool time to our program each winter – every other Saturday. This year, we will provide an “in kind” donation back to Hempfield Aquatics to help defray their costs. Your help during the Extra Give will allow us to say “Thank You” to this amazing group of people.
We will continue to build our basic equipment set so that we can safely outfit our members
as we paddle in cooler waters. Its not just boats and paddles, it is also specialized protective clothing that keeps us warm and dry in cold water. Believe it or not, the water in some of the streams we paddle stays below 60º through the beginning of August! Being immersed in these temperatures can cause loss of dexterity in minutes and hypothermia soon after. We have 10 drysuits provided courtesy of a VA Grant and are getting the insulating layers, special gloves, and other equipment to permit our paddlers to get in the water nearly year-round! Your help during the Extra Give will help us to purchase this special gear and take more people paddling through more of the season.
Many of our paddlers have limited financial resources and trips to some of the best places to paddle aren’t cheap. We keep our costs low by carpooling, camping, cooking our meals, and living fairly close of the land. Even so, a weekend trip to a local river for ten paddlers can exceed $500 pretty quickly. Camping fees, food costs, gas, launch permits, shuttle fees, and the occasional piece of lost or broken equipment add up. We also try to send our paddlers to national trips to experience new things and meet some more of our amazing people from sister-chapters across the nation. But, you stepped up and helped us to defray our trip costs so we can show these great people some of the best water and most picturesque places where they will continue their healing, meet other Veteran paddlers, and build some great memories.
We don’t just provide services to our Veterans, we also provide our Veterans the chance to serve – to give back to the community that has supported them throughout the year. Mid-summer, we will hold the third annual Kids are OutaSight! clinic. This paddling event, in partnership with VisionCorps of Lancaster helps blind and visually impaired children and
their parents/guardians learn how to safely paddle kayaks on local rivers and lakes. It may seem counterintuitive, but kayaking provides an incredible sense of accomplishment, independence, and teamwork for these paddlers. We train our Veterans how to teach basic skills, how to guide blind and visually impaired paddlers, plan a river event, provide safety, and other related skills. These Veterans then host training sessions with the kids and their paddlers, plan the river trip, develop the safety plan, and then we get on the water. Afterward, volunteers host the Explorer’s Picnic for the paddlers and their families. Smiles abound during these events! Your donations will help us to bring in some of TRR’s nationally recognized blind and visually impaired paddlers to help us and our Veterans put on a top-notch training event.
So, thank you so much for what you have done to help us! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on what we’re doing throughout the year. And, because of your donation in any amount, we will be inviting you via email to come to a paddling session and meet the people you’ve helped…and are helping…to heal through this unique approach to rehabilitation. We hope their smiles spread to you as well.
#SVTRR #TRR #ButtsInBoats #IGiveExtra