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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Amateur Sports, Camps, Health, Rehabilitative Care, Special Olympics, Sports

Mission: Sun Valley Adaptive Sports'' mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation. We do this by providing programs and services that help people develop the physical skills and self-confidence they need to enjoy all sorts of sports and recreational activities.
Our programs and services also provide healing and therapy, and help people develop the life skills, hope, and inspiration they need to interact or reorient themselves with family, peers, and their community.

Target demographics: Our wounded warrior program, Higher Ground, serves men and women who have been severely wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror. We specialize in serving warriors with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, including mental illness), blindness, and visual impairment. Our secondary specialization is serving warriors with amputations, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and hearing impairments.

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Programs: Higher Ground is a sports rehabilitation program based in Sun Valley, Idaho and La Jolla, California. The program uses sports, family, and coping therapies to restore and rehabilitate men and women of the armed forces who have been severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Specifically, the program server wounded veterans with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, spinal cord injuries, amputations, blindness, severe burns, hearing impairment, and polytrauma.

The program offers 8 weeklong sports camps: snowsports, watersports, ocean sports, and fly fishing. Camps are 100 percent free for veterans and their spouses.

Groups sizes are small (12) to encourage friendships and individualized instruction. Four-star accommodations and gold standard programming make for a fun, memorable, and therapeutic experience of a lifetime.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On January 25th, 2013, I watched and helped my friend stand on his skis for the first time in 2 years after having a major stroke. Jeff was a complete compassionate and professional teacher who helped me put a huge smile back on my friends face. I saw life pour back into my friend which brought tears of joy to my eyes. Your organization is a real asset to the world and I hope that more people see what this organization does for those who struggle with the cards they are dealt. My hat is off to you.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The diversity and efficacy of their programming is outstanding; not only is their one-on-one attention unrivaled, but their follow-up with all their participants is one of a kind!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In our small community with numerous non profits; Sun Valley Adaptive Sports sets the bar for comprehensive outreach year-round for both summer and winter therapeutic sports offered to a wide range of participants. From local children with challenges of all kinds to a Nationally recognized Armed Services program for PTSD, TBI, and physical injuries. The SVAS staff and community understand the symbiotic relationship to reaching out to anyone with a challenge and the long term benefit of learning a new sport or a coping mechanism through outdoor activities. I have been privileged to participate with family and local friends in the program and have seen the results over many years impact many people from all walks of life. I have taken the role of volunteer and donor at SVAS and am proud to acknowledge that over 80 percent of the SVAS funds donated goes towards their programs. From a small grass roots organization to a Nationally acclaimed Veterans' program, Higher Ground, SVAS is an organization the Wood River Valley can be proud of!

Review from CharityNavigator

Ora F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was the best retreat we have ever been on! They made the wives feel special and welcome! Like we really mattered.it brought us together as a couple closer then we have been since my husband has been home from deployment!!

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I got home from 2 years in Iraq I was a mess. Angry at the world, convinced that my injuries would keep me from being social or even wanting to garden. Between PTSD, TBI and numerous physical limitations I couldn't relate to people. Going to the Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, Higher Ground - Veteran's in Arms Program was the best experience that could have happened to me. The thing that happened to me opening up about feelings to others I knew could relate. The bond we developed was no simple thing. We understand what each other is going through and know that we are all there for each other, forever. It doesn't get any better than that. And the staff were ALL phenomenal. If I could I would buy a home right next door to them.

Review from CharityNavigator

George9

Client Served

Rating: 5

The folks at SVAS and Higher Ground are some of the greatest and most giving folks I've ever had the pleasure to meet. In the space of about 2 weeks, my wife and I went from not knowing anything about this program to being blessed that such a program exists. The staff took care of all the details and continues to follow up, even years after. From the initial phone call asking about my interest in attending, to program information about TSA's Veterans airport escorts, to helping me by letting me know that I'm not the only guy going through this and giving me tools to make my life better.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the SVAS Higher Ground women's program and it was amazing. They took a group of women with severe PTSD and gave us hope again. It was the first time I felt "normal" since returning from Iraq. Every need we could have possibly thought of was met, and then some. They treated us like we were worthy of being treated not only as "normal" human beings, but even better. As if we had done something great (most of us barely believed we were even human anymore, let alone worthy of praise and adulation.). To anyone that dares to badmouth this program, clearly you have not walked in our boots and lived with the grief, panic and frustration of PTSD, nor have you found the relief offered at SVAS.

Review from CharityNavigator

Katie43

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sun Valley Adaptive Sports and Higher Ground was by far the best veteran camp I have attended. I am a OIF/OEF Veteran who has suffered 2 TBI's and a spinal cord injury. The staff and volunteers at Sun Valley Adaptive Sports taught me how to snow ski. It was amazing, I am now being scouted for the paralympic team and have Higher Ground to thank, they opened that gateway for me. Without organizations like this, many veterans stay confined to their own issues. However, at camp, I learned that many of the veterans I met, deal with the same issues. Bert and the team is AMAZING!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a Disabled Iraqi vet with Traumatic brain injuryTBI, PTSD, and 13 surgeries to repair me, it left me feeling unable to do anything. As a very active outdoor person prior to the war it was very depressing to do nothing for years after my injuries. SVAS took my father and I fishing and showed me how to get around outdoors again. Along with the other nine disabled veterans with me, smiles were found, confidence restored and hope for our future. Airfare, transportation, first class meals, first rate guides and councling provided during the trip. I don't know of any veteran that has gone to SVAS and not had a great experience.

Review from CharityNavigator

Ernie E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SVAS is a most incredible organization. I am an injured Combat Vet from the Iraq war. When I came back from the war, I was pretty much closeted and afraid to do the adventurous things I used to do, it just seemed impossible. SVAS took me, and my comrades, through a week where we didn't just ski - we were taught life changing strategies. They really care that we care about ourselves, and care about each other. So, not only did I go from bunny hill to actually going down a mountain; I went from being scared about my future life to embracing it. I am a MUCH better person because of SVAS.