Challenge Aspen began its mission of “Creating Possibilities for People with Disabilities” in 1995. Ten years later and four years into the United States’ war in Iraq, Challenge Aspen created a division within the organization specifically devoted to serving the hundreds of servicemen and women returning home with combat-related disabilities. We called this division CAMO—Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities.
CAMO invites active duty, retired and veterans to Aspen Snowmass to participate in summer and winter outdoor adaptive recreation. Our professional sports instructors teach people with disabilities how to use adaptive equipment so they can re-engage in outdoor physical activity. Summer retreats include archery, hiking, mountain biking, equine therapy, and fly-fishing. Winter retreats focus on adaptive skiing, snowboarding, and ski biking.
For veterans who have experienced a life-changing injury during their military service, the resulting disability, in addition to the transition to civilian life, can be extremely difficult. CAMO programs provide an opportunity for disabled veterans to experience the camaraderie they knew while deployed, network with other veterans with the same issues, learn a new sport, and regain self-esteem and self-confidence. The lessons learned from professional adaptive sports instruction are ones CAMO participants can take home and are helpful for their transition to civilian life.
In addition to outdoor recreation, CAMO offers mental health and wellness opportunities. Each retreat includes break-out sessions that teach breath-work, yoga, emotional intelligence, and sleep therapy.
If you have any questions regarding participating in a CAMO program, please contact CAMO Director – John Klonowski.
CAMO has allowed me the opportunity, once again, to see that anything I truly put my mind to can be accomplished. For me CAMO is a lifesaving program, I’m thankful for its existence and I am very appreciative that I have been able to be a part of this tight knit family.