January 17, 2017 – Athletes learned new skills and enhanced their knowledge of archery, air-rifle shooting, and track and field at the Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor Warrior Games Training Camp onboard Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Jan. 8-14.
The training camp was for new and accomplished athletes and provided a chance to strengthen their skills while increasing their knowledge. Each day of the camp was full of instruction, practice and motivation for all three of the sports.
One of the main goals of the camp was to improve every athlete’s ability in each sporting event, while tailoring the practice sessions to each individual’s capabilities.
“Every athlete competes with themselves and their abilities and that includes those in adaptive sports,” said Margaret Smith, track and field coach for the adaptive sports camp. “We (as coaches) figure out the things each athlete can do; and then this camp makes space for them to do those activities to their maximum potential.”
The Port Heuneme training camp was the second for retired Chief Logistics Specialist Averill Malone. He expressed how these events have taught him the importance of overcoming obstacles and not allowing his disability impede his desire to compete.
“What I have learned is, if you have a body, you’re an athlete,” he said. “You should never allow your disability prevent you from at least trying.”
Along with improving athletic abilities, the camp provided a place for the athletes to make new friends and build new relationships.
“It’s exciting for me to see how the athletes bond with each other in a short amount of time and become this support network that really motivates each other,” said Smith.
“The best part of the camp is being with the team members,” said Malone. “It builds camaraderie and you get to know everyone on an individual basis.”
The training camp was a first for Information Systems Technician 1st Class Pou Pou and he spoke about how great of an opportunity it was to be part of it.
“This is something I’ve really looked forward to doing since I found out about Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor,” said Pou Pou. “I’m really happy to be here.”
Whether or not it was an athlete’s first time, the adaptive sports camp played a part in their recovery process and demonstrates how Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor continues to encourage service members on their road to recovery.
“Navy Wounded Warrior saved my life and I know I belong here,” said Malone. “I can do this.”
Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families. Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually-tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors’ recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.