GILFORD — Veteran & First Responder HealthCare (VFR) and the nonprofit Patriot Resilient Leader Institute (PRLI) signed a Memorandum of Agreement last month. The two organizations will jointly work to develop PRLI’s program of supportive retreats for veterans.

The PRLI program of 3- to 4-day retreats, called Camp Resilience, is based in Gilford and provides sports, adventure activities, facilitated peer-to-peer counseling, and life skills programs for wounded warriors.

VFR is a national veteran-owned and veteran-operated program treating veterans, first responders, and their families and caretakers, who are dealing with substance use and mental health issues. Its clinical staff offers peer-to-peer outpatient programs. VFR is part of the Strive Health Network and shares the network’s treatment approach.

VFR, together with Strive Health, will contribute staff and expertise, and offer Camp Resilience’s unique experience as part of its programs. The two groups are planning specialized retreats geared to the needs of VFR clients.

Camp Resilience has held workshops on anger management, mindfulness, sleep issues, PTSD, military sexual trauma, and many other issues affecting vets of all eras.

Outdoor experiential/sports activities such as kayaking, sailing and hiking in the summer and snowshoeing and skiing in the winter play a big role.

More than 35 retreats have been held since 2014, attended by more than 350 veterans and, in some cases, their spouses, caregivers or children.

The need for support, including mental health treatment for veterans, is growing sharply.

One indicator is that the U.S. Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Crisis Line now receives a staggering 950 calls every day from veterans in distress. (To reach the VA Crisis Line, call 1-800-273-8255, then Press 1).

“VFR/Strive Health offer veteran-oriented treatment expertise that can greatly help our Camp Resilience attendees,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kurt Webber, president and co-founder of PRLI. “We are confident that our combined resources will help veterans tremendously.”

“We have a huge amount of respect for the dedication of Camp Resilience in support of our veterans,” said Eric Golnick, CEO of VFR. “We believe our partnership with this grassroots program will be invaluable in guiding veterans who are reintegrating into their communities.”

PRLI was founded to provide sustained comprehensive programs to help wounded warriors recover their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

PRLI’s Camp Resilience has the scenic beauty of the Lakes Region as its backdrop while activities and life skills programs for vets coping with the visible and invisible wounds of war.

VFR and Strive Health were founded to provide high-quality, cost-effective, evidence-based outpatient addiction and behavioral health treatment in the United States.

VFR and Strive Health programs and services are designed to provide trauma-informed and client-centered outpatient treatment to help individuals in recovery maintain their life in the “real world” as they rebuild healthy, self-directed lives, reach their full potential and achieve long-lasting outcomes.