I can't believe it's already February, but since this is my first post of 2010, I will still wish you a belated Happy New Year! 2009 was another great year for Sierra Club's Military Families Outdoors. Just two years into the program, and we have already connected 25,000 veterans, military families and their children with meaningful outdoor experiences. We are honored to be working with the Armed Services YMCA, National Military Family Association, and Outward Bound to connect those families making the greatest sacrifices for our country with the healing powers of the land they work so hard to defend.
2010 is sure to be just as exciting and rewarding as we continue to work with strategic partners to connect even more veterans and military families with outdoor opportunities. We are excited to be engaging with leaders and decision makers about the challenges facing military families and identifying ways we can help provide meaningful services to meet their needs.
Just last month Pediatrics published groundbreaking research on how deployments affect military children. The National Military Family Association commissioned the RAND Corporation to find out what happens at home when mom or dad deploys. Children on the Homefront: The Experience of Children from Military Families lets the kids themselves tell us what it means when a parent deploys. Click here to read the results.
Sierra Club and the National Military Family Association are working to help families dealing with deployment by providing free four-day retreats to families with a service member who has recently deployed. The retreats take place at National Parks around the country and offer families opportunities to strengthen and renew relationships, explore the natural surroundings and participate in fun, family-focused activities. Applications are currently being accepted for the March retreat in Wyoming. Click here to Click here to see if your family is eligible.
Our partners at Outward Bound are also engaged in research to investigate the impact of participation in the Outward Bound Veterans Program. Initial data indicate that the courses have a positive impact on veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Veterans bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to the courses, and they are gaining outcomes such as resilience, empowerment, and social support. Additional research is underway for 2010. In the meantime, click here to check out the veteran courses currently being offered.
The year is off to a great start! We look forward to working with you towards a terrific 2010!