CARE Events: Why you should care

  • Published
  • By Shawn Sprayberry
  • Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

“What is a CARE Event, and why should I ‘care’?”

We bet you’re wondering that very thing. Maybe you’ve seen it on our Facebook page or gotten an email about it and have no clue what it is or whether you should say, “Yes.” If this is you then let’s explain. 

When we describe a CARE Event we go into detail about the acronym which stands for: 

C—Caregiver Support

A—Adaptive Sports & Resiliency Programs

R—Recovering Airman Mentorship Program (RAMP)

E—Employment/Career Readiness 

Then, we go into detail about it being a “holistic support event” and describe all of the extra-curricular activities we offer. In the end though that might not sell it; you might still be sitting there thinking, “Who cares?” 

So, why should you care? Because you will find that the CARE Event is more than just the programs we offer, it’s a place for you to learn more about, you. 

You’ll make friends. You’ll learn new skills. You’ll get to travel to a new place and stay with your new family for a week. If you’re a Caregiver you’ll get a chance to be with other Caregivers, learning how to take care of yourself so you can continue to provide the support you provide your Wounded Warrior. You see, a CARE Event is so much more than just a bunch of activities, it’s a chance to get to know other Airmen who are also on their recovery journey. 

One Wounded Warrior at our event in November said the CARE Event was the, “Best thing that happened to me and my family!” 

If you decide to say “Yes” when we send you the link you might find that the CARE Event is everything you’ve been looking for. You will have a chance to try out adaptive sports or learn new skills as a Caregiver. You might even learn that you have a really good shot at getting a job if you go through our Employment/Career Readiness training. At night you might find out you have the chops needed to be in a band or that you have skills to paint a picture or tell a joke. Just imagine, you get out of your comfort zone, go to a new place, make friends, and learn a new skill; all while gaining confidence and a renewed desire to continue looking for the outer edges of your comfort zone. 

“What happens if I say ‘Yes’?” 

Glad you asked that. 

When you arrive at the CARE Event you’ll in-process as if you were going to a new base or deployed location (minus all the danger). Then, you’ll be given a t-shirt with our logo on it and an agenda telling you exactly what you’ll be doing the entire week. At the end of that first day you’ll gather with your fellow Wounded Warriors for an “ice breaker” of sorts. This’ll be an opportunity for you to meet fellow your fellow Wounded Warrior family and the staff that will support you on your new adventure. 

The next day, following a formal opening ceremony with base leadership, you’ll break up into teams or by program workshop and a staff member will lead you to your first event. If you’re signed up for adaptive sports you’ll meet your coaches and learn new skills. If you’ve signed up for another part of the CARE Event you’ll meet with the staff and instructors to start your first day of the workshop. Caregivers will head off together and will meet with the Caregiver Support Program where they will learn about how to take care of themselves and further help their Warriors. 

Throughout the week the staff will help you adjust to the event, offering words of encouragement or guidance as needed. The coaching staff will teach you tips and tricks to modify sports to your particular abilities so you can take them home as a new tool in your recovery toolkit. Every night you will go back to the hotel room and will, more than likely, pass out from exhaustion; not from work but from the fun you’ve had all day long. 

The staff of AFW2 watch this all happen and notice a change from the moment you arrive all the way through the final day. We call it the: “Arc” 

During the week we will see you come in, unsure of what you’ve gotten yourself into. By the end of the first day we start to see you loosening up a bit as you meet other Wounded Warriors. The first day goes by fast so we don’t get a chance to see the change as much but by the second day of events we notice a huge change. First off, you’ll smile more. Then, you’ll start bonding as a team. Usually by the third day you’ve started to find other parts of the CARE Event you enjoy and start talking about wanting to come back in the future. Then, the final day comes. On that day we hold a huge closing ceremony that brings all of the elements of the event together in one amazing ceremony. By the time you’ve gotten to that you don’t want to leave. You’re ready to do it all over again. 

The AFW2 CARE Events ARE a holistic opportunity. They are about the whole person. It’s more than sports. More than classwork. It’s a chance to learn something about yourself, try something new to help in your recovery journey and expand your support system. 

If this sounds like something you might be interested in then make sure to click on “Yes” when the link is sent out. Take a chance, you might find something during the week-long event that you can bring home. 

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Anyone can refer an active-duty Airman into the AFW2 program; download the worksheet by clicking the button below and submit the finalized form via email.


Refer an Airman Worksheet

AFW2 Program Mailing Address

  • ATTN: AFW2
  • 550 C St. West, Ste. 37
  • JBSA Randolph TX
  • 78150-4739