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Dragon Boats, Sailing, fun runs – oh my! Invictus Australia turns it on for Veterans’ Health Week

1 – 9 October 2022 was Veterans’ Health Week and this year’s theme was Eat Well, so we made sure our veteran community was well fueled so they could row, run, sail, cycle, roll and move!

Check out the sport & activities we delivered across the country for hundreds of veterans and their families, not to mention the delicious, nutritious food on offer.

Hear us roar, on the water that is

The #VHW2022 activities kicked off early with a ‘Come & try Dragon Boating’ event on 17th September, supported with funding provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 30 veterans and families joined us for fun, paddling, a healthy feast and plenty of laughs.

According to participant Jasmine,“I heard about the dragon-boating event through the base, but I didn’t really know much about the sport, so I was keen to give it a go. I had an absolute blast! I came away feeling so invigorated and I would like to join the Nowra Water Dragons and do it on a regular basis! What a great way to get my blood pumping and to stay fit. Invictus Australia and the Water Dragons also provided a beautiful lunch at the end, it was a great opportunity to chat about eating well while eating well!” 

As with most of our events, no experience was necessary, and was suitable for all levels of fitness and family members are always welcome. Get in touch if you would like to find Dragons near you!

parkruns galore!

We once again join forces with our partners at parkrun to promote Team Veteran – a national walking and running group for the veteran community, families, friends and supporters. parkrun takes place at over 400 locations around Australia, every Saturday morning and is suitable for all levels of ability.

This Veteran Health Week, our South Coast Veteran Engagement Specialist Justine & her family enjoyed a beautiful morning at Huskisson parkrun – the weather did not disappoint! We supported the community and #TeamVeteran, plus handed out free healthy snacks to the 145 participants.

And our Canberra-based Veteran Engagement Specialist Debbie supported the veteran-run, Jerrabomberra Mountain Reserve parkrun with 88 from the local Defence community getting involved. A beautiful breakfast was enjoyed by all, to top up those energy stores after a fantastic run, walk & roll around the track.

“Thanks for a great event today and appreciate your efforts on a challenging day.  First time at Jerrabomberra, enjoyed it and will return! And it was great to see Team Veteran today.  I’m part of the Ginninderra parkrun RD Team and we are hosting a Remembrance Day event on Saturday 5 November where most of our volunteer roles have been filled by current serving and veteran members. We were wondering if Team Veteran would like to be part of our event, and perhaps do something similar to what was done today?” – Tony

Hundreds of veterans and their families already participate in parkruns across Australia every weekend. This has led to the creation of the Team Veteran parkrun Group, which any veteran or family member can choose to join once they have registered with parkrun using this link. And you can get your Team Veteran gear here.

behind the scenes with Tour the T

Now this is something you don’t get to do every day! HMAS Albatross, Nowra’s naval air station for the Royal Australian Navy’s aviation branch, welcomed Veterans and their families to join them for their fun run on the airfield at the base.

We had a ball, and participants spoke of the memorable experience, positive connections and of course, delicious food on offer! Invictus Australia was joined by over 300 members of the local veteran community as well as current serving personnel through the base.

Discover Sailing in Jervis Bay

Our monthly ‘Come and Discover Sailing’ day in Jervis Bay was a big hit for Veterans Health Week. 13 participants enjoyed our joint initiative with the Jervis Bay Cruising Yacht Club, with a fun & fabulous crew! We enjoyed the most delicious and healthy snacks afterwards as we chatted about what else we’ve been doing to stay active & connected, and of course eating healthy!

“Invictus Australia has been a great way to meet the local community and has helped in my transition in my new posting location. Justine and the team have all been immensely wonderful to work with and made every event warm and welcoming. The events offered by Invictus on the South Coast have been a great way to explore new hobbies that I never would have tried myself. It has been amazing for connecting with both Defence and local communities. The fabulous lunches in celebration of Veteran Health week after the events was an added bonus and it was delicious and healthy. Invictus went above and beyond to provide a variety of snacks to help re-fuel our bodies” – Jess, participant

If you would like to join us next month, be sure to book your spot!

Having a go at the indoor row

Six passionate rowers joined us in Nowra on 11th October to have a go at Indoor Rowing. Coach Jess put the crew through their paces, working up a sweat and a healthy appetite.

Indoor rowing is a great adaptive sport suitable for a range of abilities, and is a favourite at the Invictus Games. Through our partnership with Rowing Australia we have communities of rowers around the country, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find your local group.

pollies getting active with adaptive sport

We also got the pollies in on the action at Parliament House with the Invictus Sporting Challenge. We might have been there for the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh to recommit DVA’s $9 million funding to Invictus Australia, but we still took the opportunity to talk all things Veterans Health Week, get people moving and of course, well fed.

And after the announcement and exercise, twenty veterans, ESO reps and volunteers from our sporting partners joined us for breakfast by the lake. We chatted about healthy choices to make after exercising, plus a presentation on how to fuel the body and eat well. 

“Debbie, thank you so much for the invitation to join the team this morning. It was wonderful to catchup with everyone and terrific to be part of the announcement. Really appreciate it!” – Ben Farinazzzo

Join Team Veteran

While Team Veteran began as a parkrun ‘running group’, it has grown to include any sport our Veterans enjoy. Joining Team Veteran is a great way to build connections, share experiences with family and friends, stay active and enjoy the outdoors – all of which are integral in supporting the mental & physical fitness of veterans. You can join the parkrun Team Veteran group, or simply buy your merch, get active and stay connected with Invictus Australia.

Check out some of the stories from Veterans around Australia, who are passionate parkrunners & Team Veteran members. Plus, you can also now purchase your very own Team Veteran running merch. You’ll look great, while raising much needed funds to support the work of Invictus Australia, while you’re staying active & connected.

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