San Diego’s Challenged America adaptive sailing program for the disabled, is a national (and founding) sponsor of the 3rd Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) Summer Sports Clinic for recently injured veterans, held from the downtown Marriott Hotel and Marina, September 19 to 25, 2010. More than 100 recently wounded heroes from around the nation will participate in this year’s event.
First proposed to the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1996 by the Challenged America program, San Diego was selected as the host city in 2008 for the 1st National Summer Sports Clinic event, with plans to maintain the event in San Diego through 2012, according to Miyares.
Along with Challenged America, Sail USA 11, and Hipp Marine have joined to provide the sailing venues for these wounded warriors on San Diego’s Bib Bay, from the dock of the Marriott Marina. An estimated 400 to 500 people will be involved in the program, to include participants and their families, medical support and other VA personnel, government officials, celebrities, and volunteers, most coming from around the nation.
"Challenged America will have at least 50 volunteers active throughout the Clinic’s 5 days of sailing. And the veterans, therapists, and family members will be sailing in the Martin 16, a two-person, 16-foot high-tech sailboats designed to accommodate those having severe and catastrophic disabilities, Harbor 20 (foot) sailboats, and the America’s Cup yacht "Stars & Stripes" of SailUSA11.com," says Miyares. "For most, this will be their first time in a sailboat, and we anxiously look forward to making that first experience exciting and fun. After all, many of the volunteer sailing instructors with Challenged America are also veterans, with some being combat-disabled from past wars and conflicts. Veterans helping veterans is on the water is what the Clinic and Challenged America are all about."
Challenged America was founded in 1978 by San Diego disabled veterans desiring to direct their own rehabilitation activity. Today, a recognized pioneer in the field of adaptive sailing as a therapeutic activity and innovator of adaptive sailing aids and devices for the disabled, hundreds, some coming from around the nation and world, participate in the Challenged America program each year. Challenged America is a charitable program of the Disabled Businesspersons Association, with its sailing facility on Shelter Island, San Diego.