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Vail Veterans Program

Vail Veterans Program transforms the lives of military injured and their families by providing innovative, individualized outdoor therapeutic and rehabilitative programs that encourage healthy recovery, personal growth, and the building of lifelong communities of mutual support.

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Resiliency Training

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Disabled
Military
Veterans

Description

September 20 - 23, 2018

Resiliency Training is a follow-up course to Veterans Path to Success, hosted in Vail, CO and led by a Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute coach. This training allows participants to approach stress management in an innovative and proactive way. Instead of avoiding stressful situations, participants learn how to strategically manage stress and plan for adequate recovery in order to increase resiliency. The Resiliency Training provides participants with tools to embrace stress and use it to their advantage as a tactic to maximize performance.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Program participants are surveyed within one month post program culmination. 2017 Resiliency Training survey results depict powerful, positive program impacts, including:

- 100% of Veterans found the course material to be 'very' or 'extremely' relevant.

- 100% of Veterans found the course material to be 'very' or 'extremely' personally meaningful.

- 94% of Veterans learned new skills and techniques they will continue to use to recover from stress.

- 94% of Veterans are better prepared to achieve the personal mission they set for themselves at the Veterans Path to Success training program.

- 87% of Veterans would recommend Resiliency Training to other wounded Veterans.

"Given the appropriate tools and a beautiful back drop, Resiliency Training was the perfect way for me to get back on course with my goals set at Veterans Path to Success." - 2017 Resiliency Training Participant

Family Support Programs

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

At-Risk Populations
Disabled
Families
Military
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities

Description

Black Mountain Ranch

VVP partners with Black Mountain Colorado Dude Ranch in McCoy, CO to host individual alumni families for a week of western fun, relaxation, and healing in a safe and comfortable environment. This weeklong, all-inclusive family vacation is customized to your family and includes a stay in a spacious cabin. Activities offered at the ranch range from the adventurous to the connective and include fly fishing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, backcountry camping, and much more. From cattle roping to singing songs around a campfire, families will create
lifelong memories.

Other Family Support Programs

VVP invites alumni families in crisis to Vail, CO at no cost throughout the year. VVP also includes VVP alumni at a variety of fundraising and invitational events (i.e. golf tournaments, concerts, professional sports games, etc.).

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Golf In The Rockies

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Disabled
Military
Veterans

Description

August 20 - 24, 2018

Golf is more than just a sport for so many wounded Service Members. Golf enhances rehabilitation by providing a unique opportunity for camaraderie and for the development of healthy coping mechanisms. Golf allows veterans to build a lifelong skill set that includes concentration, focus, emotional stability, balance, and coordination - skills that are relevant to all other facets of life. Through Golf In The Rockies, wounded veterans benefit from five days of an unforgettable golf experience. Participants play several championship golf courses, attend golf clinics provided by PGA teaching professionals, and bond with other veterans through group meals and evening activities. Golf In The Rockies encourages participants to build relationships with others over a shared passion. Participants in this program depart Vail with an improved golf game and a newly developed community of mutual support.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Golf In the Rockies program participants are surveyed within one month after program culmination. The following 2017 survey results depict powerful, positive program impacts:

• 100% of participants reported that they are "very likely" or "extremely likely" to:

o Have more confidence in themselves
o Continue creating meaningful friendships and communities of mutual support
o Have a more positive outlook on life
o Utilize healthy coping mechanisms

• 83% of participants reportedly achieved their goals at the program. The most commonly cited goals included:

o Bonding with other Veterans
o Emotional Healing
o Mentoring other Veterans
o Physical Rehabilitation

Vail Veterans Program ambassador and 2017 Golf In The Rockies participant, Army Sgt. Tim Johannsen (ret.), explains: "Golf for me is physical and mental. Physically, golf has improved my balance and core strength, swinging a golf club is no easy task, especially on prosthetics. Mentally, when I get frustrated by the daily obstacles of wearing prosthetic sand being in a wheelchair, it's nice to be able to go out and hit a few balls and clear my head. Although therapy is a great reason for me to play golf, no reason is more important than being able to play golf with my son. Because I have lost my legs I can't run or jump, so I won't be able to play sports like football or basketball with him. But I can swing a club and will be able to play 18 holes with him when he is old enough."

Caregivers Retreat

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Adults
At-Risk Populations
Military
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities

Description

August 22 - 26, 2018
September 5 - 9, 2018

Vail Veterans Program (VVP) recognizes that physical, mental, and emotional war wounds affect the entire family, especially the primary caregiver or spouse of a wounded veteran. Each Caregivers Retreat offers 14 caregivers from across the nation an opportunity to take part in self-awareness courses, nutrition trainings, a financial literacy seminar, yoga, meditation, outdoor recreation, spa treatments,
and group meals. The program encourages caregivers to connect with peers experiencing similar challenges, offering them the opportunity to share strategies for managing daily stressors, while reminding one another that they too require time for themselves. Participants depart Vail with lifelong friendships, wellness tools, and sustainable goals to incorporate into their daily lives.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Caregivers Retreat participants are surveyed within one month after program culmination. Due to overwhelmingly positive survey results and a clear, critical need for caregiver-specific programming, VVP added a second annual Caregivers Retreat in 2017. VVP continued to offer two Caregivers Retreats during the Fall of 2018 and will do so into the future. Survey results from the 2017 Caregivers Retreats depict powerful, positive program effects, including:

- 100% of caregivers are 'likely' or 'very likely' to have more confidence in themselves after the program

- 100% of participants are 'likely' or 'very likely' to create meaningful friendships and communities of mutual support after the program

- 100% of participants are 'likely' or 'very likely' to recognize and attend to their personal needs after the program

- 100% of participants would recommend VVP to other caregivers

- 96% of participants are 'likely' or 'very likely' to incorporate healthy coping mechanisms into their routine after the program

- 92% of participants reportedly achieved their goals set for themselves prior to attending the Caregivers Retreat

Most commonly cited goals for attending the Caregivers Retreat include:
1. Rejuvenation & Rest
2. To learn more self-care practices
3. Emotional Healing
4. To bond with other Caregivers

"The Caregivers Retreat was invaluable. I am so grateful to be able to have connected with such an amazing community of strong women. I believe these bonds between us in this sisterhood will provide us with the needed strength and support, in good times and bad, to perpetuate the benefits of this program. These past several days have allowed me to take a breath and to find myself again." - April Miller, 2017 Caregivers Retreat Participant

Veterans Path to Success

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Military/Veterans
Disabled
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Psychological Disabilities

Description

September 16 - 19, 2018
October 14 - 17, 2018
October 28 - 31, 2018

The Vail Veterans Program recognizes the unique challenges faced by wounded . veterans transitioning to civilian life post military service. In partnership with Johnson & Johnson's Human Performance Institute (HPI) in Orlando, FL, Vail Veterans Program offers the Veterans Path to Success (VPTS) training program. Veterans are guided in acknowledging their "old" story, while defining their "new" story and personal mission statement for future success outside of the military. The program provides training on performance psychology, exercise physiology, and nutrition. Participants learn how to manage and expand their energy in order to sustain increased engagement, performance, and resiliency. This three-day training program equips veterans with practical and applicable behavioral tools to commence a process of healing and growing.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Veterans Path to Success program participants are surveyed within four weeks after attending the program, and again within 3 months after program culmination. Survey results from 2016 & 2017 depict powerful, positive program effects, including:

- 94% of Veterans have more confidence in themselves after attending the program
- 90% of Veterans left feeling empowered and more prepared for future obstacles
- 98% of Veterans feel better prepared to achieve their personal mission
- 94% of Veterans learned skills and techniques that help recover from episodes of stress
- 100% would recommend program to other Veterans
- 100% of participants in follow up surveys are still working towards their Ultimate Missions
- 100% of participants believe the 90 day training mission has been helpful in making positive changes in their life

"For me, the Veterans Path to Success program was life changing. After my injury, my life was altered in so many ways that I felt like I had lost my identity and did not know who I was, what I was capable of doing and what my life meant -- I was lost. Throughout my recovery, I had several opportunities to participate in "one off " events that offered different types of rehabilitative activities which were helpful and empowering, but lacked the structure and continuous engagement to be transformative. The Veterans Path to Success Program gave me a framework to create my own definition of success, which enabled me to reconnect with my sense of purpose and guided me through a series of goal setting exercises and planning methods to learn the behaviors and rituals critical to staying focused and prioritizing the important activities that will further my commitment to achieving success. The Program equipped me with the skills, tools and techniques to maintain the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical energy balance I need to meet the demands and challenges of everyday life as a working professional, mother, wife and amputee, and to stay focused on what is most important to my personal success. This Program truly gave me a "Path" to success." - CPT Dawn Halfaker (Ret.), Veterans Path to Success Program Participant

Winter Programs

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Disabled
Military/Veterans
Families
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Veterans

Description

Winter Family Program
January 13 - 18, 2019

At the 2019 Winter Family Program, up to 25 wounded veterans and 65 family members will benefit from four full days of snow sports lessons with Professional Ski & Snowboard Instructors of America. Veterans will work one-on-one with the Vail Adaptive Ski & Snowboard School to achieve their personal goals. Family members will be fit with equipment rentals and grouped with peers of similar age and skill level for group lessons. Through the group setting, military families will benefit from socialization opportunities, developing relationships with others on a similar life journey. Program participants will enjoy scheduled group meals and evening activities, including snow tubing, snow biking, and a bowling night. Participants will depart Vail feeling reinvigorated and inspired, with a community of mutual support.

Winter Mountain Adventure
March 3 - 8, 2019

The Winter Mountain Adventure provides up to 35 wounded veterans and their spouses/caregivers with four days of private, full-day adaptive ski/snowboard instruction. PSIA and AASI certified adaptive instructors meet the extensive needs of wounded veterans by providing specialized equipment and four full-days of one-on-one tailored coaching. Group meals and evening activities are carefully constructed to strengthen relationships with peers, while building mentorship opportunities.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Winter Program participants are surveyed within one month after program culmination. Survey results from 2018 Winter Programs depict powerful, positive program impacts, including:

96% of Veterans achieved the goals they set for themselves prior to the program. Most commonly cited goals (in order of prevalence): To reconnect with family, to experience emotional healing, to experience physical rehabilitation, to have a stress-free & fun experience, and to connect with other Veterans.

100% of family members/guests achieved the goals they set for themselves prior to the program. Most commonly cited goals (in order of prevalence): To reconnect with family, to have a stress-free & fun experience, to connect with peers, and to experience emotional healing.

After the program...
- 86% of participants 'agree' or 'strongly agree' that they have better communication with their family
- 100% have increased confidence
- 97% built meaningful, lasting friendships and a community of mutual support that they will rely upon into the future
- 97% have a more positive outlook on life
- 86% have and will utilize stronger coping mechanisms
- 97% will continue to try new things

100% of 2018 Winter Program participants would recommend VVP to other wounded Veterans and their families

"The Vail Veterans Program helped my family to grow closer together. It helped me to jump out of my comfort zone through socializing with others and connecting with a new group. I'm still on active duty. I'm currently transitioning out, and part of that transition means letting go of something you identify with, your people. Going through that change and experiencing the Vail Veterans Program has opened my eyes to the other groups of people that care about me." - SSgt Persons Griffith, USMC, 2018 Winter Family Program Participant

Summer Family Program

Class

Recreation & Sports 

Beneficiaries

Disabled
Military/Veterans
Families
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Veterans

Description

July 22 - 27, 2018

At the Summer Family Program, up to 25 wounded veterans and 65 family members and partner military hospital staff from across the nation will benefit from four-days of therapeutic recreational activities in the healing Rocky Mountains. Adaptive adventures will include rock climbing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, flying over a canyon on a zip line, mountain biking, and fly-fishing, as well as group meals and evening activities (bowling and a pool party). A Family Wellness Day will offer yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, as well as mountaintop activities. Through this program, participants will have the opportunity heal together, reconnect with family, build lifelong friendships, and learn healthy coping mechanisms that will long outlast the duration of the event.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Summer Program participants are surveyed within one month after program culmination. Survey results from 2017 depict powerful, positive program effects, including:

- 92% of Veterans achieved the goals set for themselves prior to attending the program (commonly cited goals include bonding with family, bonding with other veterans, emotional healing, and physical rehabilitation).

- 61% of Veterans set new goals for themselves and their families after attending the program.

- 100% of participants are 'very likely' or 'extremely likely to seek out outdoor/recreational activities' after attending the program.

"In my career, I've had several deployments, each time leaving the family. When I'm back, I have to work through injuries and other items that I have to do for my career, so to have this program available, where I can bring the family, and spend time exclusively doing things with the family, makes a huge difference. It literally erases all of the stressors that we've had over the last couple of years. I couldn't ask for a better program, what we get to do here and how the family comes together." - CW5, Lenny Irwin, US Army (Ret.), 2017 Summer Family Program Participant

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