In June 2016 the Volkssportverein Frederichburg Club in Fredericksburg, TX will be celebrating 40 years! It is amazing! Four decades since the founding of this club which led to the organization of the American Volkssport Association with clubs and walking events nationwide.
So what should we do to celebrate this monumental occasion? Host a walk assuredly! But what else could we do? Please post your suggestions in the comments section!
If you would like to learn more about how this German tradition of walking came to America, please read on.
Fredericksburg, Texas, native Kenn Knopp, was visiting his distant relatives in Germany in 1976. He was taken on an afternoon stroll by his relatives to a cemetery where relatives were buried. The stroll turned out to be a six-mile ordeal. At that time Knopp was very much overweight and upon returning to his relative’s home he was confined to the bed for an extra day.
“Now that you’ve started exercising” he was told, “why not join the International People’s Sports Walking Club that is very popular here in Europe.” Knopp thought it was a good idea since he was on the lookout for an activity Fredericksburg might sponsor as part of its German heritage. When he returned to Fredericksburg a walking club was formed with the approval of the international headquarters in Germany. Volkssportverein Friedrichsburg (People’s Sports Association Fredericksburg) then became “The First in Texas, the First in the U.S.A.”
The first internationally sanctioned walk in the USA was held in Fredericksburg in June of 1976 as part of the nation’s Bicentennial Celebration. More than 200 participants came from far and wide to have their Distance and Event record books officially stamped. Most of those taking part were from the military bases nearby and had been on the popular weekend walks while stationed in Europe. Almost immediately, new Volkssport clubs were organized in Texas and across the country.
The national headquarters of the American Volkssport Association (AVA) is now located in Universal City, a suburb of San Antonio, Texas. Kenn Knopp has been designated the “Father of American Volkssporting.” Since Volkssportverein Friedrichsburg was the first volksmarching club formed in the United States, our designation is AVA1.
The club’s continuing purpose is promoting physical fitness and good health by providing fun-filled, safe exercise in a stress-free environment. We would like to get children who aren’t involved in team sports to get interested in the simple exercise of walking long distances.
Our club hosts six (6) walking events called YREs. These YREs are 10K (6.2 miles). Four of them are located in Fredericksburg. One is at the LBJ State Park in Stonewall and the other is at Enchanted Rock.
Now that you know a little about us, tell us how we can make 2016 a special year. Not just for our club but for the whole city of Fredericksburg.