Imagine skiing down a mountain slope. You feel the wind in your face and the snow flying beneath you, and youíre going really fast. Now, imagine you are doing that totally blind, or after getting out of a wheelchair because you canít walk. That is what happens at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic every year, where VA teaches disabled veterans to ski, snowmobile, go scuba diving and rock climbing, and lots of other exciting sports. These activities really build confidence Ė after all, once youíve gone skiing, other things just donít seem nearly as scary!
Did you know that every year VA holds the biggest wheelchair sports event in the world? A long time ago, young veterans who were hurt in World War II began playing wheelchair basketball in VA hospitals after they came home. Soon, there were more and more sports for people in wheelchairs to compete in. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games has 16 different sports for veterans, from wheelchair softball and rugby, to swimming, basketball, track, and lots more. They all help veterans who use wheelchairs feel healthier and become stronger. Now, just about every sport you play at school is also played at the Wheelchair Games.
Staying active is good for you, whether you are 5 or 95 years old. The National Veterans Golden Age Games are for veterans who are 55 or older, who get to compete in sports like swimming, bowling, and in games like checkers and dominoes. The veterans who come to this event also get to meet new friends their own age and go to some neat places wherever the Games are being held. They have lots of fun together Ė kind of like getting to go to camp in the summer.
Donít you feel proud when your teacher displays your artwork in your classroom, or when you perform at a school play or dance recital? Veterans feel the same way. Thatís why VA has an event called The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. Every year, an art contest is held at VA hospitals all over the country, and the first-place winners are invited to come to the Festival. There, they get to go to special art classes and put on a big show at the end of the week, just like a school assembly or recital. In the show, veterans dance, play music instruments, sing, read poetry, or show their drawings, sculptures, photos, and other art projects.