Indiana Volkssport Association


Indiana Volkssport Association (INVA)



The Indiana Volkssport Association (INVA) promotes the health, physical fitness and well-being of the people of Indiana by organizing, promoting, and conducting scheduled programs of non-competitive, family-oriented participatory lifetime sports.

INVA has been sponsoring and supporting walking, biking, swimming, and cross country skiing events in the state of Indiana since 1985.

Walking, or “volksmarching” is the most common type of event and usually consists of a marked or guided 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) route. Each participant is encouraged to walk at a pace that is comfortable and enjoyable. Volksmarch is a German term, literally meaning “a people's walk”. Local clubs host a walk that has been chosen for its natural beauty, scenic interest, historical value and safety. The trails are well marked or maps are provided.

Trails may be in cities, towns, parks, forests, anywhere there is a pleasant or interesting area to walk. Walks may be on city streets, in quaint little towns, through state parks, rugged forests, or anyplace with interesting scenery. Shorter routes are often available for those who desire. Biking and swimming events are occasionally offered as well. Events are always non-competitive, so you can choose your sport and participate at your own pace.

INVA INVA INVA is affiliated with the American Volkssport Association, an organization which promotes walking and other sporting activities for “fun, fitness, and friendship” and the International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV), an international organization composed of national associations and clubs that organizes popular sports (volkssports) events.

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Indiana clubs

INVA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established as a not-for–profit, voluntary membership corporation under the laws of the state of Indiana exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.

INVA is the state association responsible for coordinating and officially sanctioning all AVA and IVV events in the state of Indiana, including all events sponsored by local clubs in Indiana.

Currently there are eight (8) local clubs operating in Indiana which sponsor Volkssport events in addition to INVA. Events sponsored by these clubs are listed in the “Indiana Clubs” section of this website.

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Indiana DNR/State Parks

Don Vartanian at Lover's Leap at
Shades State Park

Since 1986, INVA has co-sponsored walks in Indiana State Parks and Recreation Areas with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These walks wander through some of the most scenic areas of Indiana which showcase our state's natural beauty.

The number of walks vary from year to year. In 2012, there were 9 events on DNR properties - four that were sponsored by INVA and five by local clubs (including two year round events). The walks are part of the Governor's INShape program to improve the health and fitness of Indiana citizens.

The DNR header with attached bar as depicted on the right are being sold to commemorate this event and will be available at each walk while supplies last. Each state park or recreation area has a separate bar. This event counts towards the acquisition of IVV achievement awards. IVV record books will be available for purchase at the event. IVV Credit may only be entered into IVV Event or Distance Books.

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Links to Indiana Club Web Sites

Bedford Hiking Club
Bloomington Flying Fish Volkssports
River City Ramblers



In February 2014, INVA started the Indiana Volkssport Walking Meetup in order to attract new people to our walks and other events. As of October 2017, we have over 800 members at our main site and have sponsored 160 events around the state during the past three years. Our two satellite sites in Ft Wayne and Evansville have 460 and 161 members respectively and have sponsored almost 100 events in the past two years.

You can join up by going to Indiana Volkssport Walking Meetup. Any Indiana club can use our meetup site to promote their sanctioned traditional walks or set up a date and time for doing a year round (YRE) or seasonal event. Just use the SUGGEST A NEW MEETUP on the home page. Jim Blessing is the organizer for the main meetup site and Cliff Terry is the co-organizer.

In January 2015, we expanded our INVA meetup to include two satellite sites for the Evansville and Ft. Wayne areas.

Evansville Volkssport Walking Meetup-River City Ramblers. Just begun in January 2015 under the INVA umbrella after operating as a separate site for a year. Karen Jaeger is the co-organizer for the meetup site.

Ft Wayne Volkssport Walking Meetup. Also began in January 2015. Susan Budd is the co-organizer for the meetup site.

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The next INVA meeting will be held Saturday, Dec 2, 2017 at the Marion City Hall, 301 S. Branson Street, Marion IN 46952 at 3:30 p.m. After the meeting there will be the Christmas Lights walk. You can register for the walk from 5;30-6:00 PM in the lobby area. For map and directions Marionclick on brochure link.

Meeting Minutes - September 23rd, 2017

Either click to view, or right-click to download the September 23rd, 2017 INVA Meeting Minutes.


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Mid-America Region News

MidAmerica Region

Our new Mid-America Regional Director is Andy Bacon, 571-345-8301, email: Cheryl Elser remains our Deputy Regional Director.

Either click to view, or right-click to download the October 2017 Mid-America Regional Newsletter.

2017 MAC-The 2017 Mid-America Regional Conference (MAC) will be held in Evansville Indiana on October 27-29 at the Fairfield Inn West; 5400 Western Rd; Evansville, IN 47712. Volkssporters will enjoy fabulous fun, fitness, and fellowship with three beautiful walks along with a meet and greet on Friday, Oct 27 and a Saturday night banquet with guest speaker. More details and registration form in the Mid-America Regional Conference Brochure.


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Next NEC Meeting

The next NEC meeting will be held January 19-21, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. The meeting location will be specifically determined at a later date.

AVA Checkpoint

The AVA Electronic Newsletter


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Strategic Plan

INVA Strategic Planning

On Saturday July 1, 2017, Tom and Nikki Martin graciously hosted members of INVA in their home for a first meeting for Strategic Planning for INVA. Nikki had made up some wonderful handouts, links below, and we hashed out some issues, both positive and negative, about our organization as we plan for the future.

The summary of those points is also linked below. We are planning a follow-up meeting on Saturday, August 19 in Franklin, IN. Nikki will send out details of time and place. I hope that you will come to this meeting and help INVA decide directions to take to strengthen our organization and take it to the next level for the betterment of us all.


Cheryl Elser, President

The first document describes the Five-Step Process to Develop a Strategic Plan.
Click to Open, or Right-Click to Download the PDF.

The second document is a flow chart describing the flow of the decision making process for the question
Do Indiana Walkers Want to Continue a State-Wide Organization?
Click to Open, or Right-Click to Download the PDF.

The next document is the initial SWOT Analysis.
Click to Open, or Right-Click to Download the PDF.

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INVA Photo Albums on Google

2014 Indiana State Walks

Convention in Orlando, FL 2013

President's Day 2013

Indiana Walks 2013

Mountain Walks 2012

Civil War Battlefield Walks

Indiana Walks 2012

Lincoln Highway/National Road

Our Association Photos

Worker's Walk in Little Nashville, IN Art Colony

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Sisters of St Benedict - Ferdinand, IN Ferdinand

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Cheryl Elser & Tom Martin at Baylor Park, Milltown, IN FTVC

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Don Vartanian at Harper's Ferry, March 2012 Harpers Ferry

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John & Jackie Felton posing on Main St, Carmel, IN, June 2012 FTVC

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Cliff Terry at Chancellorsville VA battlefield in March 2012 FTVC

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Our Club Officers


  • Cheryl Elser
  • 2909 Rolling Meadows Lane
  • New Haven, IN 46774
  • 260-749-6304
  • E-Mail: Cheryl Elser

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  • Cliff Terry
  • 152 Stony Creek Overlook
  • Noblesville, IN 46060
  • 317-776-1848
  • E-Mail: Cliff Terry

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  • Liz Winsley
  • 1310 Pearl St.
  • Auburn IN, 46706
  • 260-925-5091
  • E-Mail: Liz Winsley

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  • Robert Buzolich
  • 1703 E. Howard St
  • South Bend, IN 46617
  • 574-233-4441
  • E-Mail: Robert Buzolich

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Member-At Large


The American Volkssport Association


The American Volkssport Association (AVA) is a noncompetitive sports organization with a national grassroots network of some 300 clubs conducting about 3,000 Volkssport events annually in 50 states. Fifty thousand plus participants can enjoy walking (includes jogging and running), swimming, cycling, snowshoeing, cross country snow skiing and roller skating.

The AVA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle through fun, fitness and friendship for people of all ages and abilities.

The International Federation of Popular Sports


The International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV) is an international organization composed of national associations and clubs that organizes popular sports (volkssports) events. The Federation is a not-for-profit organization. It was founded in 1968 by clubs from Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria. It was registered by the Court of Munich, Germany on January 20, 1972, and entered into the Register of Associations under No 7820 at the Office of Records.

Links to Indiana Club Web Sites

Bedford Hiking Club
Bloomington Flying Fish Volkssports
River City Ramblers

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Indiana Clubs

The Volkssport Clubs of Indiana


Select the Title above or click on the Indiana Map to open in a new Window/Tab (depends upon your browser's settings). You then close that window or tab to return back here.

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