Soldier On goes for gold in Whistler
With the breathtaking scenery of Whistler, B.C., as its backdrop, the recent 7th Annual Allied Winter Sports Camp provided ill and injured veterans and serving members with a unique Soldier On experience.
From February 12 to 21, these 32 participants from Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom proved themselves true warriors, meeting challenges with success. Over the course of 10 days, they conquered the slopes, backcountry, NordicTrack, and ice, in search of new ways of adapting, and overcoming illness and injury through physical activity and sport.
Lieutenant-Commander Nicola Edgeworth, of the Royal Australian Naval Reserves, who led the Australian contingent of eight participants, remarked that “the Allied Winter Sports Camp offers a more comfortable environment for nations to intermingle than some more high profile activities such as the Warrior or Invictus Games.”
Soldier On, a program of the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, works with sport delivery partners to deliver world-class experiences that inspire and empower its participants. In Whistler, the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP) is the primary sports partner that facilitates the delivery of activities for this camp. Chelsey Walker, executive director of WASP, has been developing its programming for more than 14 years
“I have been so impressed by the transformative power of this camp,” said Chelsey, reflecting on the number of past participants who have benefitted from their time in Whistler and since turned to careers in sports and outdoor recreation.
In addition to marking the seventh edition of the Allied Winter Sports Camp, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, spent the morning with the Soldier On group. Minister Sajjan thanked each participant for welcoming him, emphasizing that Soldier On was an important part of his own journey. He then joined the group for an adrenalin-inducing skeleton run at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
“Soldier On does incredible work to support veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members, by helping them adapt to injuries or illness through sport,” said Minister Sajjan. “It was my privilege to join participants from Canada, the U.S., U.K., and Australia, and take part in the Soldier On winter training camp at Whistler-Blackcomb. I am constantly in awe of the unconquerable spirit demonstrated by our veterans, and women and men in uniform, both in their service to our country and in everything they do.”
On the slopes and on the ice, participants of the 7th Annual Allied Winter Sports Camp had the chance to follow in the tracks of the 2010 Winter Olympics athletes. In the process, they showed us all the spirit of true champions and the unconquerable hearts of warriors.