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Minnesota National Guard
Yellow Ribbon Summits draw out the best

Minnesota National Guard Since early February, leaders from Yellow Ribbon Communities throughout the state have been attending Yellow Ribbon Summits in order to share best practices and synchronize support-efforts with neighboring networks

According to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon's Community Outreach Team, the initial summits - the first in Rochester on Feb 2 and the second in Bloomington on Feb 23 - have been successfully executed

"The intent of the Yellow Ribbon Summit was met in that the networks got together and discussed the carrying out of the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon mission in their respective communities," said Capt Kelli Mangan, Deployment Cycle Support's Yellow Ribbon liaison officer "The summits gave neighboring Yellow Ribbon Communities the opportunity to meet one another and help them coordinate to collectively tackle future problems"

More than 21 volunteers from five different Yellow Ribbon Networks participated in the first six-hour summit, and 63 individuals attended the second summit in Bloomington, Mangan said In addition to networking and sharing best practices, volunteers were briefed on the Minnesota National Guard's Resilience, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention, or R3SP program

"R3SP was a new topic to these volunteers serving Service members and military families in their communities, and we were able to educate and inform the audience on that," Mangan said

Additionally, presentations were given in order to help volunteers understand the resources and programs available to aid them in supporting military families, Mangan said There was also time slated for three breakout sessions, during which facilitators in the form of military partners and Deployment Cycle Support staff helped drive networking among the Yellow Ribbon Community leaders and the drawing out of best practices

"The first event is introductions, so the volunteers can meet one another," Mangan said "Eventually the facilitators work with the attendees to brainstorm the best practices and what has been working in their respective communities"

"The top two best practices are then shared with the whole group after the event, and those tangible results are recorded and made available for future reference"

Five more summits are planned throughout March and April, and active leaders from Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Networks are encouraged to register at wwwBeyondTheYellowRibbonorg

Feb 23, 2013
Story and photos by Sgt Patrick Loch
Minnesota National Guard

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