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Veteran Health Week Activities 2020

With a theme of ‘Social Connection’, Veterans’ Health Week is a continued reminder of the importance of the role that camaraderie and social activities play in the lives of veterans and their families, supporting both physical and mental health and well-being.

From competitive sporting challenges including beach volleyball, golf and lawn bowls to other pursuits such as yoga, horse-handling, gardening and dog walking, this year’s activities are also a legacy of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

Taking place two years ago this month, the Games continues to have a long-lasting impact throughout the Australian veteran community via Veterans’ Health Week and the establishment of Veteran Sport Australia, an RSL partner charity formed to capitalise on the impact of this landmark local event.

With ongoing concerns around COVID-19, in-person activities will be conducted in accordance with current restrictions in place, while a virtual event is also being held for those keen to engage in and support Veterans’ Health Week virtually.

Healing and Horse-Handling Mother of two and a veteran who served in Iraq, former intelligence officer Sarah Watson found community and mateship in her local RSL sub-Branch of Yass, and is organising a morning of yoga and coffee to encourage other veterans and their families in the community to come together.

Similarly, in Picton, RSL NSW charity partner RSL LifeCare is using Veterans’ Health Week to relaunch its Spur Equine Program. A program run by veterans for veterans, the courses working with horses have been developed with wellbeing and recovery as core elements and the team are committed to helping participants enjoy and challenge themselves.

The program promotes mental and physical wellbeing for wounded, injured and ill veterans. Spur Ranch is located at the RSL LifeCare village near Picton, where working with horses is a meaningful and healing experience.

Learning how to handle horses through the two-day horse handlers’ course is the first step in a series of programs that ultimately leads to a ride that treks through the Snowy Mountains and other iconic locations.

Ray James, Acting President, RSL NSW: “In a lot of ways, Veterans’ Health Week shines a spotlight on the activity that is already taking place across the state and country year-round, but it is also a timely reminder of our need to regularly review and evolve our services as we work tirelessly to support veterans and their families. This year’s theme of Social Connection also reinforces the importance of camaraderie to overall health and wellbeing, which has been a mainstay of RSL activity since our very inception.”

“Activities being highlighted this Veterans’ Health Week demonstrate that we need to be wherever veterans and their families are, supporting them whenever they need it and delivering services and activities however, they can be best utilised on the ground. Whether it be directly provided by RSL NSW or facilitated through us by our vast network of partner charities or other ESOs, we are continuously evolving to ensure our total dedication to supporting veterans and their families remains as relevant as ever.”

Sarah Watson, veteran including service in Iraq, Yoga Event Organiser, Yass RSL sub-Branch: “I have found community and mateship in my sub-Branch, and by organising a special Yoga day I hope it attracts other veterans to our event to forge new relationships and friendships. Many veterans want to get out and have some fun, enjoying camaraderie outside of the traditional club environment, and I believe this will set the scene for even more activities like this to take place moving forward.”

Snapshot of select events: Join ”Team Veteran” veteran Virtual (not) parkrun event. Led by Veteran Sport Australia in collaboration with parkrun and Open Arms, anyone across the state can take part and it’s something for all ages and backgrounds. The concept is simple – join the Team complete 5km any way you like.

Listen to the interview with RSL NSW Acting President Ray James and Iraq War Veteran Sarah Watson on the drive show with Jim Wilson;

“We’re all veterans when it comes to it, and camaraderie’s the thing we all share.”

“We are sort of conditioned to toughen up and get on with the job, and not make a big deal if you’re having a hard time.

“To change that mindset … was a big step forward in healing.” – Ray James


Saturday, October 24

Raymond Terrace: Veteran Sport Australia in partnership with Bowls Australia is hosting a FREE Veteran and Family Bowls Day at Raymond Terrace Bowling Club, between 11am – 2pm. Get along and meet special guest, former world number one and National Coach, Steve Glasson OAM and enjoy the free BBQ. Further details available by contacting

Monday, October 26 

Planting of an Edible Garden alongside Homes for Heroes Plants and outdoor items donated by Bunnings to go towards a herb patch for the home at Narrabeen, encouraging greater independence and a focus on sustainability for the participants. Followed by a BBQ.

Tuesday, October 27

South Lake Macquarie RSL sub-Branch (Morisset) will be holding a Peak Physiology session, light exercise session (Pilates) at 9am

Wednesday, October 28

Dog walking event with rescue dogs program at InglesideRun by RSL LifeCare Veteran Services in conjunction with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Thursday, October 29

Re-launch of RSL LifeCare’s Spur Equine Program – Picton Program is relaunching with a two-day horse handling program that promotes mental and physical wellbeing for wounded, injured and ill veterans through horse handling courses. There will also be a BBQ lunch for guests, followed by a horse handling demonstration.

For the full event list and more information visit

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