CLOWNVETS: Military Member Clown Trip!

CLOWNVETS is our hope to bring healing and playfulness back to the lives of military members across the world. Finding joy and vitality in living post-service is possible – we’ve seen it and done it!

This clown trip takes service members (active, non-active, veteran) on a one-week therapeutic clowning excursion in Guatemala City. Clowns from the Gesundheit! Institute join with military service members to share in humanitarian clowning. Together we engage in daily excursions to deliver fun, peace, and play to those in dire need of a loving presence.

Participants are supported to find their own clown within, and the workshops/activities programmed upon arrival equip the participant with the clown tools needed to make loving connections with those we are there to serve. We visit hospitals, health care clinics, residences, and orphanages to clown for patients and their caregivers. It’s a hoot!

This event has such a profound healing aspect for the participant we don’t want money to get in the way. Therefore, we are asking for your help to contribute to this project. With a goal of $30,000, we will be able to help 10 combat veterans travel to Guatemala City.

Read Patch’s letter of invitation!



What our Participants have to say:

  • “It’s worth it to go because it will totally change your life, and how you look at things you think you can’t do because of the things you did or things you saw. And you may even find that part of you that you thought you lost.” – US Participant


  • “I’m an Army Veteran with PTSD, and anxiety… what I’ve noticed about myself and other veterans with similar disabilities, is that isolation is easy to do, and socialization is very difficult. I believe this is not a healthy way to live… For myself, humanitarian clowning became my passion. I went on the vet trip in 2016, and it was very life changing. It turned my light back on in my life. I love the community that happens while helping others. This is unlike the environment I’m used to. I learned so many new ways of looking at life last trip, that I feel I must continue to do humanitarian clowning; I believe it will make my light shine even brighter. In addition to helping others, I believe the following helps me:
    • focus my mind on more positive thoughts
    • gives self esteem, self worth, and meaning to life
    • and best thing: it helps me love myself, and therefore allow myself to help others
    • I’m my opinion, this is a win-win situation that many people cannot understand
    • I can’t wait to do this again – visiting hospitals, meeting new faces, and delivering smiles and laughter”
      – US Participant


  • A proud moment in my life shared with silent warriors who’ve all learned to live again. Thank you to those I got to spend time with and open up from a sense of loss. We’ll forever be family. Thank you Dr. Adams for constructing something that brought us out of our shells to learn to be alive again. Carry On, Pro Patria!!” – Canadian Participant


  • “Like many veterans, my PTSD had resulted in being released from the military on medical grounds. Loss of career meant loss of identity, as well as loss of confidence and self-esteem. The clowning trip, while quite intimidating initially, was an important reminder to me that in simply causing a smile, or giving attention or caring to others, we received back some of what we had lost. Kids are always ready to play and have fun, and surprisingly, so are many adults – once you don the “magical” red nose of The Clown, many adults drop their defenses, smile, and are interested to see what’s going to happen next. They are often more than ready to play along, and thereby “take a mini-holiday” from lives filled with work and worry, or suffering. In doing so, they are refreshed, and the clown feels their gratitude. To injured veterans wondering about participating in a clowning experience, I would say, “Take the leap of faith; you have nothing to lose, and much to gain. The experience can also give you a break from your personal suffering, as well as empowering you with something concrete that you can do to help yourself. ‘For it is in giving that we receive!’” – Canadian Participant

Donate here to make the trip possible!


See for Yourself!

Take a gander at what the trip looks like and how it affected the lives of participants in our first two pilot years of running the program. Geseundheit! Institute, in partnership with many collaborators, created a documentary film to invite you to join us on a trip – we’d love to have you!

Watch the CLOWNVETS Trailer!


A Word from Patch:

I am a World War II baby, May 28th, 1945. My first 16 years I grew up on military bases, mostly out of the US. The only people I knew were on the Army base. My father fought most of World War 2, and all of Korea, and I remember him coming home from Korea a shell of a man. He never recovered. I know you can recover—I believe in you, and the power of love and fun are enchanting.

Let’s give it a go.

Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute, P.O. Box 307, Urbana, IL 61803

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