GILFORD — The Patriot Resilient Leader Institute, a nonprofit veterans’ support organization, and its operational arm in Gilford, Camp Resilience, celebrated the latter’s fifth anniversary on Feb. 4.
The PRLI is a nonprofit group comprised of veterans and concerned citizens, who were, until recently, all unpaid volunteers, who seek to combine the talents of area professionals and the beauty of the Lakes Region to assist veterans throughout New England.
Using a three-pronged approach, Camp Resilience seeks to help veterans bounce back in mind, body and spirit. The three mainstays of the program are outdoor team-building/experiential learning, life skills training and facilitated peer-to-peer counseling.
“The PRLI board, our great volunteers and myself have been humbled by the success of our grassroots support organization over our first five years,” said Kurt Webber, PRLI president and a retired Army officer.
“We felt from the start we were filling a real need for our veteran population, and the feedback we receive from vets who attend a retreat repeatedly confirms that. It is their comments which reinforce our mission and those comments were the driving force behind our very ambitious expansion plans.
“The need is still there, that need is still strong, and Camp Resilience is proud to continue to help veterans coping with the visible and invisible wounds of war to move forward. ...”
Over the past five years, the PRLI has held 40 Camp Resilience retreats, servicing 373 veterans and their family members and caregivers from throughout the Northeast.
The retreats last three to four days each and are free of charge for the attending veterans.
In 2018, the PRLI launched a five-year plan to raise the funds needed to expand the program to 40 retreats per year by 2022.
In 2018 the group ran 11 retreats; in 2019 it plans to run 20, increasing to 25 in 2020, 30 in 2021 and 40 in 2022.
To achieve this goal, the PRLI is increasing its fundraising efforts in order to support the additional retreats and to hire staff to support the volunteers. Last month, the PRLI added its first paid staff, a program coordinator and VP of advancement.