True Patriot Love Foundation (TPL) sets sights on hosting its first virtual expedition due to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2012, TPL has produced eight expeditions around the world, pairing civilians with members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans.
The expeditions highlight the perseverance and unconquerable spirit of Canada’s military members and Veterans in the face of adversity.
In Response To COVID-19 Pandemic
Building on this experience and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenging realities associated with it, TPL is launching its first-ever Virtual Winter Expedition. This new program will bring together military service members, Veterans, and Canadians across the country. It will run from March 1 to March 31, 2021.
“True Patriot Love’s Virtual Winter Expedition is an opportunity to connect the military and civilian community, even with public health guidelines in place, with an online expedition which will take you virtually “coast to coast” across Canada,” says Meighan Bell, chief development officer TPL.
Team Navy, Team Air Force, or Team Army
When participants register they choose to be on one of three teams: Team Navy, Team Air Force, or Team Army.
The three goals the organization is aiming for participants:
- complete the 8,500km together as a team while also raising $100,000 to support military and Veterans charities across Canada
- to build a connection with community
- build camaraderie as spring is welcomed.
Mission members will travel approximately 8,500km together as a team from the comfort of their home or neighbourhood while raising funds for projects that support the military community.
Through an online platform, MyVirtualMission, team members will connect and support each other. Participants can connect their fitness tracker or manually update their movement on the site. Ski, snowshoe, run, cycle; whatever activity someone chooses contributes towards the team kilometre goal.
“The more people on the team, the quicker you get to the finish line, and the more the kilometres are spread out amongst everyone,” Bell explained. “The aim is to complete the kilometres as a team, encouraging each other along through the chat function.”
Along the route, you can virtually visit program partners across the country and find out about the impact TPL has had over the years. Mission members can learn how their support is making a difference to military members, Veterans, and their families.
Raise Awareness Around Unique Circumstances
True Patriot Love’s role is to raise awareness around the unique circumstances of service and also, to highlight the important role Canada’s military plays at home and abroad in maintaining Canada’s security and sovereignty.
“Members of the military are Canadians themselves, they are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and they are just like the civilian population they are sworn to protect. It is important that they know that the people they serve care about them and their families and their welfare. This is an opportunity for civilians to show their support through positive messages and through their generosity,” she added.
The organization realizes serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans, and their families accept a unique duty to serve Canada and its people. The unique circumstance of service includes separation from family, deployments, and acceptance of risk.
On behalf of the nation, TPL’s goal is to raise awareness within the civilian community about the Canadian Armed Forces and empower military and Veteran families to feel supported.
Money Raised to Fund Adapted Programs
Funds raised will help adapted programs like those aimed at helping isolated Veterans living with post-traumatic stress and depression, which the challenges of COVID-19 may exasperate.
Bell mentioned that when a military member is injured, they know that physical activity can be vital in their journey of recovery, as are social connections to help them through this tough time.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, with gyms closed and our friends and families unable to connect in person, we all may be struggling with our own physical and mental well-being, especially as the winter drags on.
This is an opportunity for all of us to have a reason to be motivated to get moving and also perhaps reach out to some friends we haven’t spoken to in a while,” she says.
Anyone can participate, regardless of physical ability. The site has a conversion chart to translate yoga, weightlifting, or any other physical activity into kilometres.