Annual Weekend Provides Rest, Relaxation, and Wellness for Recently Deployed Paratroopers

HARRIS, N.Y. (July 8th, 2019) – There is no greater compliment than that given by the 82nd Airborne Division Association to the residents, students, and staff at The Center for Discovery® (The Center/TCFD) after a 4-day visit known as The All American Adventure, which was held on June 21-24th. They are the strongest, bravest, most tenacious Americans and yet said of the residents and The Center, “here there is no limit” to what can be and is done every day in each residence, classroom, and on TCFD’s farms. The staff they labeled “heroes…the people who give us faith in humanity and its well-being.” Yet, Center staff said the honor was truly theirs.

It was hard for TCFD Development Specialist, Christopher Ellison, to pinpoint just one special moment throughout the weekend. The event he said was simply “magical.” He was touched deeply by how the 17 servicemen and women immediately became a part of The Center “immersing themselves naturally with our residents and everything we do. Automatically they shared the same passion as we do and met us at our level.”

The 2nd All American Adventure was designed to honor and support the 82nd Airborne Division’s members. The Center’s 1,500 acres of organic and biodynamic farmland and countryside, coupled with its renowned wellness program and food from its Department of Nourishment Arts (DNA), was the perfect recipe for the servicemen and women who push their bodies and minds to the limit in each and every day of their work. Whole person health, including brain health, is a key part of TCFD’s mission – accomplished through a daily emphasis on nutrition, environment, sleep, exercise and lifestyle.

From sunrise to sunset, the young men and women took wellness classes, climbed an alpine tower, zip-lined, biked, rode horses, kayaked and canoed on the Delaware River, went on a river trip, fly fished, ate well balanced nourishing meals and ended each evening with a campfire and conversation. They were side-by-side with Center residents for most of the activities. And together – they planted 8 apple and pear trees on the last day – a symbol of a growing bond between both parties. For 4 days they connected physically as they pushed their bodies, but more importantly, they connected emotionally. The servicemen and women said the weekend reminded them why they fight for America; “freedom for all…for people like the residents to have a safe place,” and a place to grow and to learn. According to Jim Cashen, Assistant Chief of Integrated Arts at TCFD, “the 82nd Airborne could not have echoed their sentiment strongly enough – that the inclusion aspects of the weekend were the most significant for each of them. The connected activities and the relationship building with The Center residents could not have been more remarkable.”

The All American Adventure was made possible by the 82nd Airborne Association – an independent non-profit organization dedicated to aiding the Division, as well as a generous gift from the Vera and Walter J. Scherr Foundation.  Walter J. Scherr had a special place in his heart for the men and women who serve in the armed forces of the United States and also those who are committed to caring for people with complex medical conditions like the children and adults of The Center for Discovery®.

The Center for Discovery® is committed to being a place where opportunity and success are daily goals for every student and resident with complex conditions. Through its Lab School and upcoming Assessment Hospital, TCFD is actively studying the intricacies of complexity as a whole, as it relates to the brain and the body. The Center aims to shift the language and paradigm from “mental” to whole-body health. At the 2018 America Salutes You conference and concert held last fall, Patrick H. Dollard, President & CEO of TCFD said, “we have to see the person first – not the disability or the diagnosis.”