*See below for photos from the author's adventures with Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues
Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Buckhorn Camp west of Fort Collins, Colorado, to do some training with Team Rubicon. You are now looking at a Level 1 Sawyer (no, I can’t cut down that tree in your backyard).
Following my sawyer training, I stayed for a day to help with Team Rubicon’s Operation Burnt Tree Revival. During this operation, we spent time felling, bucking, and limbing trees that had died during the High Park Fire at Buckhorn Camp. Through the efforts of Team Rubicon, the camp will again be able to host a summer camp for children with cancer.
Throughout the course of our work here at THE SHOP, we often talk to individuals and companies looking for ways to serve their community or veterans’ causes. Being part of the nonprofits Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues, I have firsthand experience with both. The below descriptions explain what each organization does and how you or your company can help.
Team Rubicon – The Greyshirts
If you are not already familiar with this organization, it may be in the periphery of your mind as it has started getting more national attention. In 2010, when military vets Jake Wood and William McNulty saw the disaster in Haiti unfolding, they quickly gathered supplies and a small group of volunteers to help. Knowing many military vets and first responders have training and experience to deal with these kinds of situations, Team Rubicon was born.
Team Rubicon follows the same regional divisions as FEMA and deploys its volunteers both nationally and abroad when disaster strikes. The environments can be physically and emotionally draining, but the reward of knowing you did something to help an area in dire need makes it worthwhile. This, of course, can mean potential for time away from home with very little notice, but it is on a strictly volunteer basis, so it is never required. What IS required is volunteers be at least 18 years old, complete online training, and go through a background check.
The group also provides some training opportunities, like the sawyer training last weekend, to learn a new and useful skill. Even if you are not able to deploy, the organization often will have service projects in the local area to stay connected to fellow volunteers.
If you are ready to put on a gray shirt or donate to the organization, please check out the Team Rubicon website.
The Mission Continues – Blue Shirts
The Mission Continues is also primarily geared toward military vets, specifically those trying to adjust to life at home. The organization’s focus is getting vets integrated in their communities through local service projects.
The Mission Continues is family friendly and makes it easy for volunteers to do service projects side-by-side with their kids. The service events typically take place for one day on a weekend and do not require a lot of time away from home or work. They also don’t require a lot of training.
Some of the things my son and I have helped with are planting trees and plants at a local community center, repainting the inside of a school, building equipment and painting a children’s shelter, building planters for an organization that will use them to grow organic produce for veterans with cancer, landscaping for a school, Extreme Community Makeover, and the list goes on.
Those ready to brandish a blue shirt or donate to the organization, please check out The Mission Continues website.
The Blue & Gray
Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues both help military veterans get and stay connected. Often, just the comradery of serving side-by-side with other vets can help with PTSD. While both organizations are focused on and utilize the service of veterans, both also accept and appreciate civilian volunteers.
Both nonprofits also rely on donations and volunteers to survive. Regardless of what volunteers are doing, these nonprofits always need tools, materials, and—most importantly—personal protective equipment (PPE). Sometimes the organizations need logistics support, like transportation, food, shelter, good bathrooms (very important), and the other little things that help keep us going.
Since attrition is common in any organization, Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues are always looking for new volunteers. Along with the volunteer experience being rewarding for the soul, there’s also a free T-shirt in it for you!
Those with any questions should visit each organization's website or reach out directly to me. If you want to follow any of my volunteering adventures, please find me on Facebook @whohaveyouhelpedtoday.