In March of 2010, Teton Science Schools had the pleasure of hosting its first Operation Purple Family Retreats, a program of the National Military Family Association. Designed to help families reconnect after experiencing the stresses surrounding a deployment, the program was a great opportunity for families to spend time in Grand Teton National Park while trying new things, making new friends and enjoying quality time together. We are proud to say that this past October, we held our sixth Family Retreat!
We hosted 12 families from 10 different states and representation from the Army, Airforce, Navy and Marine Corp. Field education faculty, instructors and AmeriCorps were able to connect two of our nation’s most valued treasures: military personnel and National Parks. During their 4-day program, families had the opportunity to explore the Tetons on hikes and wildlife safaris. Additionally, they were able to serve the Jackson Hole community through participation in stewardship projects with the Teton Raptor Center, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Public Art, The Murie Center, and Triangle X Ranch.
Upon departure, one parent stated, “Teton Science Schools has had a tremendous impact on my children…they have connected with the outdoors and their environment in a way that is hard to describe.” Another family described their experience saying, “We had a real good time. The outdoors is a great way to relax from our everyday lives. My family has added the trip to our memory bank and it will forever be a trip to compare to.”
As these quotes suggest, the Operation Purple Family Retreat is a powerful and rewarding program, not only to the families that attend, but also to the NMFA and TSS staff involved. We are looking forward to the next retreat in February of 2013!