Livingston County creates Veterans Outdoor Rx Program to connect vets with the outdoors

The program will connect veteran participants to outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and equine therapy

The Express

GENESEO — The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted this month to create the Livingston County Veterans Outdoor Rx Program.

The Livingston County Veteran Services Agency will oversee this program, which is a first of its kind in New York State. It is a county-funded program providing free outdoor activities for veterans, active duty service members, members of the National Guard and reservists who reside in Livingston County regardless of service dates or discharge status.

The established program will be a non-clinical program that provides safe opportunities to learn about wellness and self-care activities with three levels of programming specific to self-guided, facilitated, and certified recreational therapy to promote physical activity and wellness. The Livingston County Outdoor Rx Program will consist of local providers and the Livingston County Suicide Prevention Taskforce connecting veteran participants to outdoor activities including, but not limited to, fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and equine therapy.

The Livingston County Board of Supervisors has approved a budget of $15,000 to initiate the program and will request additional funds through New York State to sustain the program in the future. Jason Skinner, Director of the Livingston County Veteran Services Agency, has been serving as the co-chairperson of a New York State taskforce that is working to establish a statewide Veterans Outdoor Rx program.

“We have many unique natural resources right in our backyard, including a state park that enriches our county," Director Skinner stated. "It’s time to bring veterans together in a safe environment and engage in activities utilizing these great resources. This is a proud day for the veteran community, and we are very grateful to the Board of Supervisors for continuously supporting our veterans.”

Any community group or association wishing to participate in the Livingston County Veterans Rx Program should plan to attend a pre-RFP conference on March 26 at 2 p.m. via Zoom. To register for the Zoom conference, visit https://www.livingstoncounty.us/FormCenter/Veteran-Service-Agency-26/Training-registration-form-131. Contact the Livingston County Veteran Services Agency at 585-243-7960 for further information.