Veterans and their spouses are invited to attend a free veterans voluntour and marriage enrichment retreat in Sequoia National Park on September 15-17, 2017. Couples from throughout California will be gathering in Sequoia National Park to preserve on of our nation’s most cherished National Parks. Not only will they be volunteering to restore these world-renowned resources, they will also be working to restore their marriages, a process that can be difficult when transitioning to civilian life.
Unfortunately, the divorce rate among veterans has reached an alarming 80 percent. In support of initiatives to address the high divorce rate, Nature Corps, a park volunteer organization, in collaboration with the Veterans Administration and the National Park Service, has developed the VIP (Veterans in Parks) program.
Through the seminar series “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”, marriage counselor, author, and speaker, Dayn Mansfield, will present this highly humorous and successful marriage program to military couples to help them address the unique challenges they face.
The goal is to allow couples to build upon the personal rewards that they experience through building their conservation legacy and, within the grandeur of Sequoia National Park, offer them a unique opportunity to rededicate themselves to their marriage and to the well-being of their family.
“This is an enormous win-win for our veterans and the national park”, remarked Sequoia Superintendent, Woody Smeck. “More than ever our parks need volunteers to heal and preserve our land. In exchange, the parks will be a place of respite and healing for our veterans as they work to meet the challenges of day to day life. Here, among the giant sequoias, there is an element of timelessness that will allow them to reflect on their lives and refocus their priorities and commitments. There would be no higher calling for our parks than to honor and support the veterans who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy across our land.”
To support this special event, the VA will bring staff who will provide individualized counseling. They will also offer information and referrals for longer-term counseling needs, as well as resources and materials on VA benefits and healthcare services.
Nature Corps, the organization spearheading this important effort, is a nonprofit volunteer conservation organization. Since 1987, the agency has mobilized thousands of volunteers who have donated their efforts on projects valued at over $8 million. Their volunteers are responsible for restoring and preserving some of our nation’s most valued natural treasures in parks such as Yosemite, Channel Islands, Hawaii Volcanoes, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Their projects include:
- Protecting the world-renown General Sherman Sequoia, the largest tree on earth
- Planting 20,000 trees to restore impacted habitat throughout Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
- Restoring the ecological balance of Yosemite’s Merced River by planting thousands of trees along its banks
- Revegetating fragile meadows in the High Sierra and dwindling rainforests in Hawaii Volcanoes NP
- Rehabilitating historical structures and antiquated park service facilities
For its accomplishments, Nature Corps has earned a Congressional “Take Pride in America” Award, four “Take Pride in California” Awards, the American Express “Mark of Innovation”, and the National Park Service “Partnership Achievement” Award and the “George B. Hartzog, Jr.” Regional Award.
Veterans who are interested in attending the voluntour and marriage retreat can contact the Nature Corps at 1-800-774-PARK or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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