TU VSP and Student Veterans of America

With support from TU VSP Advisory Council member Joe Butler, I had the amazing opportunity to exhibit and talk about the TU VSP program at the 2017 Student Veterans of America National Conference. I spent 3 days talking with student veterans from across the country. It was energizing to spend

time with an extraordinary group of young men and women who served and sacrificed to protect our country and the freedoms we all enjoy. Check out the SVA http://studentveterans.org/

In our program name, Veterans Service Partnership, the “partnership” aspect is critical to VSP program growth and success. We have some wonderful VSP partners in Project Healing Waters, Warriors and Quiet Waters, Rivers of Recovery, R4 Alliance, Embrace-A-Vet, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors T.A.P.S, and Higher Ground Sun Valley. The VSP is looking forward to the opportunity to hook colllege and university SVA Chapters up with our TU chapters who are running or starting up TU VSP programs.

The mission of the VSP is to serve our nation’s military family, all veterans, able and disabled, active duty, their spouses, and their families. We want to engage them in our TU conservation mission and our many initiatives such as the women’s initiative and youth education, and the 5 Rivers program. If you are running a veterans program in your TU chapter, I urge you to look into the SVA opportunity. The SVA includes the full spectrum of the military community. I had a tremendous response to what the VSP is trying to do collecting contact information for nearly 70 SVA Chapters from college and unversities around the country who are interested in partnering with the VSP.

I did not serve in the military, but I am an “Army Dad” with a son who is an active duty Army officer, well on his way to an Army career. I understand the military culture, and I have been indoctrinated into the training the military receives. In the case of Army, the branch I know the best, the Army warrior ethos says “I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.” These are values that are trained into the US military. In addition, these student veterans all volunteered to serve meaning they have a heart for service. Many, many of the student vets I talked with are looking for community service opportunities for their SVA Chapters to participate in! They were keenly interested in our VSP program. Combine this interest in service with the mission first training, and you are looking at an amazing TU volunteer. With the student veterans, many of whom are in the 25-35 year old age group, you engage them now and you potentially have a 40-50 year conservation warrior!

This is a TREMENDOUS opportunity to build and “SUSTAIN” your TU Chapter VSP program and your chapter membership. PLEASE reach out to me, DAVE KUMLIEN, VSP Coordinator, at 406-570-0023 or via email at DKumllien@tu.org

By Dave Kumliien.