Mental health services, career counseling, and long-term rehabilitative care are provided free for young wounded veterans by the Wounded Warrior Project. Those in the Hamptons Saturday can show support for these veterans participating in the organization’s Soldier Ride.
“It’s always great to be part of this ride,” said East Hampton resident Nicholas Kraus, who has participated in Wounded Warrior Project events across the country the last 16 years. Kraus is co-owner of The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. “Working with friends and people that I didn’t know that I now call my friends on such a great event is really special.”
“There is a certain satisfaction in seeing the difference in a wounded veteran from when they first arrive — uncertain for what they signed up for, in a new environment, maybe still even recovering and only out for the weekend to ride with us. Seeing them come out of their shell by the end of the ride, making new friends, realizing they can still do things they doubted they could still do . . . It’s more than riding a bike, it’s often a game-changer,” Kraus said.
The course cruises along stretches of beach, waterfronts, and farmland from 9 to 11 AM July 20. Registration at Amagansett Farm begins at 7 AM, an opening ceremony starts at 8:30, and there’s a post-ride community picnic to follow the event.
“I’m not sure if people understand the kind of impact Soldier Ride can make on someone’s life,” said Staff Sergeant Thomas Kowolenko. “It’s not just a bike ride. The influences of that program allowed me to communicate with my wife and family on a deeper and more honest level.”
Montauk Ocean Swim Challenge
Water lovers are invited to get wet for a good cause by taking part in the 11th annual Montauk Ocean Swim Challenge on Saturday, July 20, to benefit construction of the future aquatic center at the Montauk Playhouse Community Center.
Three distance categories — half mile, mile, and 5K — are available for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Each distance swim will have separate youth and adult divisions.
Swimmer check-in and same-day registration opens at 5:30 AM in the Ditch Plains Beach parking lot. The 5K ($55 in advance and $70 day of) begins at 6:30 AM, the one-mile ($40 in advance and $55 day of) at 7:30 and the half-mile ($25 in advance and $40 day off) at 8. A medal ceremony and a post-swim breakfast will begin at 9. Complete race details and online registration are available at www.montaukplayhouse.org/oceanswim.
The Montauk Beach House, located at 55 South Elmwood Avenue, will host a pre-event registration on Friday, July 19, at 5 PM.
Free Junior Golf
Links at 28 golf courses in state parks, including Sag Harbor and Montauk, will be open free to children 18 and younger on Saturday, July 20, as part of the state’s Junior Golf Day.
Meant to encourage the next generation to take up the sport, the program offers a free, 18-hole round to state residents.
“To the youth out there who already love to play, or might want to learn: This round is on us,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “We want to encourage as many young people as possible.”
Sag Harbor State Golf Course and Montauk Downs are among those partaking in the program.
“We are thrilled that New York State officials are providing a Junior Golf Day,” said Brianna Sovring, Player Development Director at Central New York PGA. “Golf is a lifelong outdoor sport that teaches core values such as honesty, integrity, and sense of community. A free youth golf day helps break down all entry barriers into the game and allows those from all economic backgrounds the ability to play golf.”
The youth program does not guarantee a tee-time, so participants are urged to contact the appropriate golf course in advance to make a reservation. Online information on locating a course, as well as program terms and conditions, can be found at www.parks.ny.gov/golf. Most state parks have a four- to seven-day window for accepting reservations. Walk-ins are also welcomed, based on availability.
As part of the event, packages of State Park’s themed golf tees will be available as giveaways to participants. The program does not include a cart, range balls, or food and beverages.