*BOUHAMMER NOTE- As a proud member of the You Served Blog and Radio Show crew, I am honored to be part of putting on such a great event.*
The general details of the 2012 Milblogger Family Reunion sponsored by You Served and Veterans United Home Loans have been put together and we are happy to announce them here. This is open to anyone who wishes to join us, including milbloggers, supporters, non-military bloggers, family members and kids. The more the merrier!
When: Friday, August 31, 2012-Sunday, September 2, 2012.
Where: San Antonio, Texas
Tentatively scheduled Events:
Travel day in for everyone
6pm-12 midnight: Party with beer and light foods at the Soldiers Angels Warehouse
The party is BYOB but a keg of beer will be provided, courtesy of VUHL. We will have sodas and water as mixers and for those choosing to not drink. Foods will be light fare, this is not a fully catered dinner event, but a social meet and greet amongst friends and family.
Dress code is casual, jeans and t-shirt type of thing. We’d love everyone to wear a red shirt for Red Shirt Friday to support our military! Ranger Up, Soldiers Angels, and many other military friendly organizations have their own version of red shirts, so let’s all make it a sea of red support!
10am – approx 11:30am: Discussion group addressing PTSD, suicide prevention, and reintegration. We hope everyone can come join us for this because anyone who has contact with military people are familiar with these topics. Whether it is a tough reintegration into family, suicidal thoughts, struggling with PTSD, or even a smooth transition, everyone has a story to tell. We’re hoping to be able to share resources and ideas on how to reach out to those who are unfamiliar with the military system (those moms back home in “Podunk”, Anywhere USA who have a son struggling and who don’t know where to turn to for help!!). This is not a “panel of experts” talking to us, this will be all of us discussing problems and solutions. There will be a few guests who will start off the discussion by telling their own stories, but it will be opened up to the whole floor after that.
11:30am-2pm: Break for lunch, tour the SA warehouse, pack some care packages for soldiers overseas, etc
2pm-4pm: The afternoon panel will cover one of two topics. The first potential topic is for the discussion group to meet with some recovering warriors from BAMC and discuss the role of social and new media with recovery. Things to be discussed would be the creation of social media groups, pages, twitter accounts for recovering warfighters, does it hurt or help? Is that an infringement on privacy and what are the opinions of those recovering themselves. Do they like it, hate it, don’t care? Does it help to post updates on social media or blogs during recovery? Who is that for, the patient or family/friends?
The other possible topic is what milblogs can do in the next phase of the war effort, homecoming and after. This discussion would focus on what milblogs and social media can do to assist our warriors after the flags get put away and hugs end. What next for the warrior? How do they transition to a pure civilian life? What resources are out there for job hunting, counseling, peer groups, etc. Wars end (thankfully) but the effects don’t, which means our support of these men and women should not end when there are no more care packages to send. How can we as a loose online community ensure that support is still there.
The afternoon panel (regardless of which one is decided upon) will be facilitated by someone to keep the discussion moving forward and on topic.
4pm-6pm: TBD – there is something in the works and when it is confirmed, we will announce it
6pm: End of day’s events. Everyone finds their own dinner and entertainment
10am: Free screening of Bards of War with producer/director, Scott Kesterson, there to answer questions
There is a block of hotel rooms at the Comfort Suites (6350 I-35 N., San Antonio, TX
Phone: (210) 646-6600) reserved at a rate of $69/night for those who will be attending. When making reservations, mention “Soldiers Angels” to get the rate.
There is no registration fee and so this is a low-cost event where everyone is on their own. If you are going to attend, please register online. If you have a Facebook account, follow the event page for updates or find a roommate (if needed).
With the help of Soldiers Angels, we’ve secured a free gathering site and a lower room rate, but transportation between the hotel and the warehouse are your responsibility. Some of us will have minivans, so we can carpool with our friends, and there are cabs available (the hotel is about a mile away from the warehouse so a shared cab should be very reasonable). If there is an overwhelming response, we will look into getting some sort of limo-bus for the Friday night social, but there is no guarantee and is contingent upon numbers planning to attend and interest in this transportation option.
There may be some future changes in the tentative schedule for the day’s events on Saturday, but in general, this is what we are looking to do. Either way, we are really looking forward to seeing all our friends and milblogger family members again!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Marcus Penn at mpenn-at-veteransunited-DOT-com.