Buckhorn Lake Resort, Kerrville, Texas:
V is for Volkssporting as in the American Volkssport Association (AVA)--Fun, Fitness, Friendship. I have been a member for many years and have earned badges and pins for the number of events and number of kilometers I have walked/hiked. I call it volksmarching (literally walk of the people) or volkswalking.
From the AVA website:
"Volkssporting started in Germany and simply defined, is a personal fitness sports and recreation program offering noncompetitive walks, hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing. You may choose your time to start within the start/finish 'window' and participate in the sport at your own pace.
"Volkssporting in the United States is sponsored by the American Volkssport Association (AVA) which has about 300 active clubs presenting more than 3,000 volkssporting events each year with some 50,000 participants.
"Promoting well being and good health by providing safe exercise in a stress-free environment is the hallmark of volkssporting. Walking – also called 'volksmarching' – is the most popular of all the volkssporting activities. Walks are generally 10 km (6.2 miles) in length and the routes are marked or guided by a leader. Local clubs generally offer a 5 km (3.1 miles) option for participants who are physically or medically unable to complete the longer walks. All events are noncompetitive. The volkssporter chooses the sport, the distance and the pace.
"Volkssporting events take place throughout the year, all around the country. Historic and scenic sites are selected for their enjoyment. Trails are carefully laid out and marked, easy to follow directions or maps are provided. Ratings of 1 to 5 (the most difficult) are given to trails based upon the challenge the trail presents. The designated Start Point is open for several hours to allow you to begin your volkssporting adventure at your leisure. Trails have checkpoints along the route and are monitored for security and safety.
"In the volkssporting tradition, you frequently find volkssporters gathered at the Finish Point where they take time to enjoy friends, and at some events, entertainment or refreshments."
Over the years, I have walked with friends, Bob, or alone on 10K (6.2 mile) walks in forests, parks, cities, tulip fields, dahlia fields, iris fields, lilac gardens, along rivers, through festivals, Christmas lights walks, historical areas, and gardens.
Some walks are year-round events that you can do anytime your heart desires. You go to a start box, sign in, get a start number, pick up a map and a start card, and go. Along the route you may need to answer checkpoint questions and write the answers on your start card. When you're finished, you pay $3.00, (put the money and your start card in a locked box at the start area OR taken an addressed envelope to mail your payment), stamp your AVA books if you walk for credit, and go about your day.
Other walks are traditional sponsored events which means a Volkssport club in the area maps out a route, staffs the registration, start and end tables, and usually provides checkpoints along the way where you get your start card stamped, water, and possibly small snacks.
Bob and I did a Volkswalk last Saturday at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. It's such a fun thing to do.