Let’s remember 9-11 and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Before I post about the Yellow Ribbon I would like to have a moment of Silence and remember those who lost their lives on that 9-11-01 as well as their families, also to remember all the affects of 9-11 has had on the military. Let us continue to stand behind those who fight to protect us from evil like this again and those who have given their lives for the safety of ours.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is for support of military members and their families of all branches of military service, both past and present. Wadena’s support of military families helped inspire the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, and now the city is being officially designated as a Yellow Ribbon community. Wadena and several other towns were proclaimed Yellow Ribbon communities and honored in a ceremony at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion Aug. 22, with Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson speaking.

National Guard Sgt. Matthew Nygren, Training NCO working at the Wadena Armory, said Minnesota’s Yellow Ribbon program was started by Adjutant General Larry Shelito and then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He added that during a 2004 deployment, Yellow Ribbon founders were impressed by how Wadena and a couple of other communities supported their troops.

The objective of the Yellow Ribbon program, is to establish and sustain a local Yellow Ribbon Network that proactively works together in order to meet the needs of service members and military families.

Karla Richardson of Verndale, veteran and Minnesota Patriot Guard state ride captain, agreed community support in the area is strong. Mayor Wayne Wolden said recognition was given to Wadena for the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, which had already been occurring in Wadena.

The proclamation was received by Wolden, Richardson, Evelyn Otto and Diane Leaders. Wadena met the requirements for an action plan template in key areas, including city leadership, public safety, judicial departments, veterans’ organizations, social services, medical providers, faith-based resources, businesses and employers, and a Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee guiding the overall effort. There are over 130 support networks established across Minnesota.

Yellow Ribbon services are not necessarily military-related, and can include mowing a lawn, giving rides and other types of assistance. If you want any more information please contact Yellow Ribbon past or present military members and their family members may contact them about Yellow Ribbon services, and it is confidential.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Which one is yours?

I was recently contacted by the National Guard to help reach the readers about their new application. The application, titled Adventures, integrates with Facebook Connect and puts the user in a decision based situation in a personal video experience. 
This new app is called, Adventures http://www.mynationalguardexperience.com/adventures/ is based on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure style of books and will allow users to make real-time decisions that control the outcome of various missions.  This interactive experience exposes users to the many different jobs and roles available.  It also showcases the pride developed as a Soldier in the National Guard.
The National Guard recognizes the impact of social media and its ability to connect with young men and women around the country, and hopes this application will demonstrate what being a part of the National Guard is like.  For those who may know someone who is interested in joining the National Guard some of the benefits are the job training, cash bonuses (on top of the paycheck) and educational opportunities that you can’t receive anywhere else. You can find additional information on the Facebook Page of the National Guard. 

NMFA Operation Purple Camps

So last year I had the opportunity to attend two Operation Purple Summer camps in NC, one in Hendersonville (way past Charlotte, in the Mountains) and one in Halifax NC (close to the VA border). Both camps were totally different experiences but we all had a WONDERFUL TIME! On the days I attended both were a salute to the military. It was so amazing to see these children having a great time getting their minds off their parents deployments just being kids. They also had the military one source counselors there and helped the children if they need to talk. They were from all different branches too, not just one. Some kids had attended the previous year so they were excited to see their friends.

In Hendersonville Camp Tekoa, it was hidden away in the mountains, it was a traditional camp with cabins, full of nature, green trees, a zip line, a river. Almost pristine I loved it there the kids were from all over the eastern seaboard as far away as VA, TN, and FL. The camp director had the schedule packed full of exciting trips, white water rafting, making a living circle, cooking, horse back riding anything you think of they did it!

In Halifax it was a 4H camp site it was a little different but it was still fun.  The camp was in a old historic school building, they had day trips planned every day of the week. The day I was there was Military Day, they had static displays of military vehicles, a helicopter landing, big trucks the Army Corp of Engineers, and the children were still from all over NC, SC and VA. They all got along so well together. Still I had lunch with them, a lunch the older teen kids made (sloppy joes) it was great!

When you hear “Operation Purple camp” you should think: Kids Serve Too! The National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple camps are a time for having fun, making friends, and reminding military kids that they are the Nation’s youngest heroes.

The Operation Purple program was created in 2004 to fill a need identified by military parents to “help us help our kids.” The mission of the Operation Purple program is to empower military children and their families to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships, in spite of the current military environment. We do this through a variety of means, including the healing and holistic aspect of the natural world. The program is joint or “purple”—encompassing all Service branches, including the National Guard and Reserve.
In the 2004 Operation Purple pilot season, the National Military Family Association was able to implement 12 different Operation Purple camps serving close to 1,000 children. Since then the Operation Purple program has grown and expanded and by summer’s end close to 40,000 military children and teens will have been served. The Operation Purple program also includes camps for teens, family retreats at the national parks, and camps geared to address the needs of children and families of our nations wounded service members.

Donations for Operation Purple camps are now supporting our 2011 camps. Please direct donation questions to donations@militaryfamily.org.