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That’s a wrap

Veterans’ Health Week 2020 wrapped up earlier this month, having run from 24 October to 1 November.

A big week on the calendar every year, we again saw a huge amount of activity around the country. The theme was ‘social connection’ and there were lots of different COVID-safe activities on offer – from golf to yoga, morning teas, quiz’s and everything in between.

Joining Team Veteran

As a national initiative, this year VSA collaborated with parkrun and Open Arms to encourage veterans and their families to register with parkrun and join the ‘Team Veteran’ Club.

It was amazing to see so many people getting behind ‘Team Veteran’ and doing a (not)parkrun. There are now nearly 250 members of Team Veteran, making it one of the largest parkrun Running Clubs in Australia.

‘Team Veteran’ running shirts produced by Open Arms proved to be a big hit too, with the purple camouflage spotted in cities and suburbs around the country, not to mention all over social media.

Photo Credit: Open Arms

What’s a (not)parkrun?

(not)parkrun is parkrun’s innovative way of staying connected and active while we’re apart.

There are normally hundreds of in-person parkrun events taking place every Saturday morning around Australia, but while many events remain closed, (not)parkrun was developed as a way to do a 5km route at any time, at any place and at any pace.

The best news? There’s still an opportunity to join ‘Team Veteran’ and get involved in (not)parkrun and your local parkrun every week!

A huge week

However, it wasn’t just the ‘Team Veteran’ initiative that VSA was involved in during Veterans’ Health Week.

It was a pleasure to again work with the Darwin Off Road Cyclists (DORC), who put on a amazing social ride and BBQ for veterans and their families. There were 18 veterans, one partner and one very talented young rider joining the rest of the club on the ride, with a representative from Open Arms also taking part on the day.

The weather was perfect and the group did a couple of circuits of the Old Pine Forest in Howard Springs. Stay tuned for another update about DORC and their connection with veterans next month!

It was also great to be supporting our Sporting Partner Rugby 1st as they brought together the local rugby and veteran communities to talk about key issues caused by transition and the role of community as part of their ‘Vet Friendly Club Program’.

Working with the Kirribilli RSL sub-Branch and Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union, Rugby 1st held two terrific gatherings in Sydney and Newcastle, with great insights shared from special guests including Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, Mollie Gray and Jim Grey. Remember, if you’re a rugby nut and want to get involved make sure you check out the Vet Friendly Club Program.

Finally, it was fantastic to be able to work with Beyond the Break to support the Australian Institute of Sport in linking some Olympians and Paralympians with veterans during the period leading up to Remembrance Day. A big thank you to all of the athletes, sports and veterans involved and for sharing a powerful message about the importance of Remembrance Day.

Special thanks to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for supporting our events and making them possible.

A huge thank you to parkrun, Open Arms, DORC and Rugby 1st for their leadership of Veterans’ Health Week initiatives. We’re already looking forward to next year!