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Minnesota National Guard
Family Preparation Academy for Military Families in Brainerd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 24, 2011

~ Family Preparation Academy for Military Families in Brainerd ~

This weekend, nearly 1,700 military family members will assemble at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd for a Family Preparation Academy The Family Preparation Academy is a one-day program designed to empower and resource Service members, their spouses, parents, significant others and children to address the effects of combat operational stress and general issues prior to deploying  Two events will run on Feb 26-27 from 8 am - 4 pm 

Special attention will be paid to children of deploying Service members Families will have a chance to build a hero bear with their young children between 2:30 - 4:00 each day The bear is designed  to help comfort the child during the deployment while their parent is gone Families will be available for the media to spend time with during this special time

Families will learn about many youth development programs designed specifically for the families:
•      Free child care and child care provided by the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network
•      Subsidy programs by  the National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies
•      Operation Military Kids and Operation Purple Summer Camp, which help children understand and prepare for the deployment
•      Children will connect with others their age going through deployment
•      Military teens aligned with a battle buddy to share the deployment experience with, in addition to learning about resources for youth, other  issues addressed through classes will be:
•      Growing a marriage while separated by deployment
•      How parents of Service members can cope during deployment and be involved
•      Handling finances during the deployment

The following units will attend this weekend's FPA
•      Feb 26 Family Preparation Academy at Cragun's Resort for 1st Battalion, 194th Combat Arms Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Company  in Brainerd; C Company in Sauk Centre; and D Company in St Cloud

•      Feb 27 Family Preparation Academy at Cragun's Resort for 1st Battalion, 194th Combat Arms Battalion, A Company in St Cloud, B Company in St Paul and 134th Brigade Support Battalion in Camp Ripley

The local community will be at the event in support of military families both days A Brainerd photographer has reached out to his network to ensure families are provided an opportunity to get a family photo taken at the event 

For more information about Beyond the Yellow Ribbon visit wwwBeyondTheYellowRibbonorg

To schedule an interview with a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon representative, contact Sgt First Class Melanie Nelson at 651-253-4968 (cell)   All media will be required to have an escort

-30-     





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