The True Patriot Love Symposium on Military Families surpassed the expectations of organizers. The initial objective of the event was to create a space where all levels of government, military leadership, the military community and supporting organizations could come together in one space to talk about military families, their strengths and their needs. The goal of the symposium was to facilitate partners listening and learning from each other in order to better support military families. According to TPL the overall participation and outcomes of the event were exceptional.
The energy was high October 1 to 2 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa where the TPL symposium took place. The focus was on the many and varied issues affecting military family resiliency, including care and support to ill and injured military members, transition, the impact of deployments and postings on military careers, the impact of stress and uncertainty on the mental health of children, and bereavement. “Bringing together over 55 speakers from more than 50 organizations representing military family communities from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe allowed for an inclusive conversation that provided all of us with a variety of perspectives,” said David Fascinato, manager special projects; True Patriot Love Foundation. Through the sharing of wide ranging experiences attendees were able to foster a collaborative learning environment benefitting the military community in Canada and beyond.
Speakers took to the podium and panelists discussed ongoing research, current programs and future programs for military families. Participants and attendees alike made connections and shared dialogue throughout the two day event. “This special collective passion will be channeled, having a direct impact on our military family communities across Canada,” said Fascinianto. A tremendous amount of research is taking place around the resiliency of military families in each of the countries represented. This research was discussed, shared and gave new perspective on the modern military family.
The event also provided the valuable opportunity for CAF leadership to work with Canada’s allies to share high-level philosophies, with the intention of continuously improving the care and support available to military members and their families.
An impressive number of Canadian government officials lent their support to the event recognizing the contribution military families make to operational success, including the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of Military Personnel, the Director of Research for Personnel and Family Support, the Director of Military Family Services, and the Mental Health Advisor to the Surgeon General. The DND and the CAF also work collaboratively with not-for-profit organizations and external stakeholders to continuously enhance morale and welfare programs for members, their families and veterans alike.
The True Patriot Love Foundation, which has led expeditions for wounded soldiers and veterans to the North Pole and base camp Mount Everest, supported the attendance of Families of the Fallen at the National Day of Honour ceremony, organized numerous fundraising events in support of the military community, and now hosted the TPL Symposium on Military Families. “True Patriot Love is very happy with the outcome of the symposium. We set out to channel a discussion on the issues impacting our military families and from all the feedback we received, we’ve been able to accomplish just that.”
Military families can access information, programs and services through three access points, either in person at local Military Family Resource Centres, by calling the 24/7 Family Information Line 1-800-866-4546 or online at www.familyforce.ca.
** This article was originally published in our Holiday 2014 issue**