​Denver SCI Chapter Wins Veterans award
​       (Denver) The Denver Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) is humbled to announce their acceptance of the Veterans Award at the SCI Annual Conference Veteran’s Breakfast on February 5th in Las Vegas, NV. The award recognizes the top five chapters (out of 187) for their humanitarian outreach efforts in assisting military veterans. The Denver SCI Chapter was honored for their active humanitarian program that, in 2019 alone, held over 65 events, serving 464 military veterans. This is the tenth year the chapter has received national recognition for their program, having served thousands of veterans in this time-frame.
​       Twenty years ago, chapter Humanitarian Outreach Chairman, Bob Adwar began working with the Therapeutic Recreation department of Craig Hospital, taking patients in rehabilitation from spinal cord and brain injuries on outings to engage in outdoor activities like fishing and hunting. The goal was to provide an outlet for healing by rebuilding confidence, or simply to enjoy a restorative connection with nature. As soldiers began to return from war in need of physical, mental and emotional healing, Adwar saw that they could benefit from these activities as well. Over the years, the program known as the Denver SCI Humanitarian Outreach Program (SCIHOP) grew enough to sprout a stand-alone non-profit called the River Deep Foundation that serves as a partial funding arm, and works with an alliance of seven like-minded organizations that collaborate to expand outreach and resources for clients. SCIHOP remains as the operational arm of the River Deep Foundation, coordinating the logistics of the outing programs for veterans and other individuals with disabilities, that have diversified to include archery, fencing, art classes, cooking classes and more!
​       A few factors make the SCIHOP/River Deep Foundation programs stand apart from some other veteran programs. First, they believe in consistency and in providing diverse, year-around opportunities for participants. Ongoing programs provide the community and consistency needed to keep a veteran not only out-of-crisis but working actively toward healing. Second, they understand that if an individual is in crisis, the family is in crisis, so they incorporate participation of families in their programs wherever possible. Shared experiences can lead to shared healing. Additionally, their outings are positive, inclusive and instructional, with each individual treated with dignity and encouraged to enjoy each activity without pressure. The goal is to enable clients to explore new interests or start a new hobby and have the confidence to build on their experiences. Lastly, they believe in the power of cooperation. The collaboration within our alliance allows us to offer more resources to our mutual client base and provide a sense of community for our clients.
​       The highlight event of the last few years has been their annual camping and ballooning event at Colorado’s Eleven-Mile state park where veterans and their families enjoy a time on a lake, a night camping together and the chance to ride in a hot-air balloon!  They are scheduled to do another event like this in July of 2020.
​       Supporters and sponsors can participate in upcoming fundraising events that are currently still scheduled to move forward as planned. Saturday, June 20, Sporting Clays Fundraiser at Kiowa Creek Sporting Club. Monday, August 31, Golf Tournament Fundraiser to benefit RDF hosted by Rocky Mountain Harley Davidson. Visit www.riverdeepfoundation.org for more information. They will also be participating in the special Giving Tuesday event scheduled for May 5, 2020.
       Safari Club International (SCI) is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. The Denver  Chapter’s Humanitarian Outreach Program (SCIHOP) is the operational arm of the River Deep Foundation who is dedicated to helping military veterans and other individuals who have experienced physical, emotional or psychological trauma—and those who assist them—to heal and re-engage in life through adventure, recreation and a network of support. This is accomplished through recreational group outings that facilitate healing through active re-engagement in life, and collaboration with an alliance of complimentary 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations ​who share resources, knowledge and ideas with the goal of providing more efficient and effective programming and outreach. Alliance members are Craig Hospital, Anglers of Honor, Operation TBI Freedom, SCIHOP, Task Force: ISO, Victory Service Dogs and Quality of Life Plus, For more information or to donate, visit www.scihop.org or www.riverdeepfoundation.org.