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America’s Premier Noncompetitive Sports Organization


American Volkssport Association       
Facts & Figures

ü      The American Volkssport Association (AVA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting regular physical fitness activity for Americans as an essential component of overall good health.


ü    AVA is America’s premier noncompetitive sports organization and administers the nation’s largest noncompetitive sports program from its National Office in San Antonio, Texas. 


ü      Since its inaugural U.S. event in 1976, AVA now boasts of more than 250 chartered sports clubs nationwide, whose activities are monitored by ten Regional Directors who are elected by the clubs in their region.


ü      The volkssporting movement began in Germany in 1968 – now in more than 40 countries worldwide.


ü      Volkssporting is an international sports phenomenon that promotes personal physical fitness and good health by providing fun-filled, safe exercise in a stress-free environment through self-paced walks and hikes, bike rides, swims, and in some regions cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 


ü      Walking is the most popular of all U.S. volkssporting activities and has been identified by the U.S. Surgeon General as the most beneficial form of exercise. 


ü      Two trails are normally offered at walking events: 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) or 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).


ü      More than 3,000 sanctioned U.S. volkssport events are sponsored annually with participation open to the general public. No need to be an athlete.


ü      Special provisions also allow for the physically challenged to participate in most events.


ü      Nearly 400,000 people took part in AVA events during a recent two-year period.


ü    More than six million individuals have participated in volkssporting since 1990.


ü      Clubs schedule several walks annually usually one or two-day events on a weekend, available only on that date. Participants may start an event individually or in a group at any time during a specified time period and are allowed more than enough time to finish.  These are designated as “Traditional” events.


ü      Also there are established walk routes that can be walked throughout the year or seasonally at the participant’s personal convenience. These are designated as year-round and seasonal events.


ü      Many people adopt volkssporting as part of their lifestyle, and have completed hundreds of events and thousands of kilometers.  While many begin walking for fitness (that inevitable medical wake-up call), most continue because of friendships and social benefits provided by the local clubs.


ü      A unique aspect of volkssporting is the Achievement Awards Program whereby participants may enroll in an incentive awards program keeping records of distances walked and events completed.  Record books are purchased for a nominal fee.


ü      The record books are stamped when the events are completed and after processing at the Association headquarters, achievement awards consisting of a patch, pin and certificate are returned to the participant.  


ü      AVA is run by an all-volunteer board of directors with a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and ten Regional Directors who form the National Executive Council.  There are six paid employees at the headquarters location.


ü      Mission Statement: Promote and organize noncompetitive fitness activities that encourage lifelong fun, fitness and friendship for all ages and abilities.


ü      Vision Statement: Increasingly engage Americans in lifelong walking and other noncompetitive physical fitness activities.


ü      Values Statement: 1) Health and Safety 2) Volunteering and Public Service 3) Non-Competitive and Inclusive 4) Adventure and Camaraderie 5) Environmental Stewardship 6) Transparency and Accountability.

What is Volkssporting?

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.

Walking – also called “volksmarching” – is the most popular of all the volkssporting activities.

Volkssporting in the United States is sponsored by the American Volkssport Association (AVA) which has a nationwide, grassroots network of about 300 active clubs presenting more than 3,000 volkssporting events each year.

Founded in 1976, AVA is an educational nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to promoting fun, fitness and friendship.


Almost 400,000 Participants

The 2010-2011 AVA Biennial Report indicates that almost 400,000 people took part in AVA events during the July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2010 reporting period.



Year-Round and Nationwide

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 and easy to follow directions or maps are provided.

Trails are rated based upon the challenge the route 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.


Open to everyone, local club or national membership is optional, but highly recommended. Join the AVA today! Go to the www.ava.org homepage and use the membership link.

Volkssporting As A Lifestyle

Many people adopt volkssporting as part of their lifestyle, and have completed hundreds of events and thousands of kilometers. While most begin walking for fitness (that inevitable medical ‘‘wake-up call”), most continue because of friendships and social benefits.

kilometers. While most begin walking for fitness (that inevitable medical ‘‘wake-up call”), most continue because of friendships and social benefits.

Most participants do take part in the International Achievement Award Program by purchasing record books to record their progress, or receive a special event award that adds to the fun of accomplishment.

Volkssporter Profile

The average volkssporter is a “baby boomer,” in his or her mid-fifties, and usually an “empty-nester” either approaching or beginning retirement.

The ratio of female to male participants is about 60%-40%. Approximately 25,000 volkssporters are members of local clubs, with thousands more regularly walking each year.

Past surveys indicate 84% travel out of state on a regular basis  to participate in events and that they participate for enjoyment of the outdoors, exercise, health, travel and to enjoy the fun and social aspects of volkssporting.

American Volkssport Association
1008 S. Alamo St.
San Antonio, Texas  78210



Volkssporter Profile Continued

It is not uncommon to find two or three generations at AVA events. Adults with children participate as a family while young adults enjoy more extreme hikes and longer distances.


3,000+ Events Annually

With more than 3,000 events per year, about 1,200 events are ‘live’, with many participants coming together to enjoy a delightful family weekend.

About 1,870 events are self-guided and open every day of the year. AVA’s Starting Point is an annual directory of these events published and sold by AVA.

All AVA events are listed on AVA’s website at www.ava.org (Locate Walking Events link.) AVA’s largest events routinely attract thousands of people.

Biennially, the AVA hosts a week-long National Convention, which Volkssporters from all over the world attend.

Sponsor Benefits At Events

  • Drive retail
  • Ability to interact with event participants for several hours
  • Showcase products
  • Exposure to lucrative senior target market
  • Increase brand loyalty
  • Create product awareness
A Family Affair

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