WINTER PARK- Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) is a Department of Defense program that works primarily with the National Guard and Reserve units to provide real world training opportunities for our service members to prepare them for their wartime missions while simultaneously supporting the needs of America's underserved communities.Starting this year, the IRT program will team up with Snow Mountain Ranch and Project Sanctuary to build a retreat facility for active duty military, veterans and their families.Project Sanctuary is a program that provides therapeutic, recreational retreats to military families to help reduce the negative effects of deployment, which can include divorce, suicide, and abuse. The new facility will serve as a permanent location to host Project Sanctuary retreats throughout the year."We simply provide a sanctuary, a place of healing and some hope," says Heather Ehle, founder and executive director of Project Sanctuary. "The magic happens all on its own, but it's because of our donors that we're able to provide a retreat at no cost for these service men & women to heal with their families. The Project Sanctuary retreat center will only become a reality through the generous support of donors with a heart for military families, everything helps."In 2007, the YMCA of the Rockies partnered with Project Sanctuary to further the Association's mission by serving military families through therapeutic retreats at Snow Mountain Ranch in Winter Park. Eleven retreats were held at Snow Mountain Ranch in 2012, though with a waiting list of over 1,100 military families, the hope is that many more retreats will be possible in the years to come with the new retreat facility. Kent Meyer, YMCA of the Rockies President and CEO, shares, "The YMCA has a long history of supporting military service members and their families. Having served for six years in the Air Force, I appreciate the sacrifices that our military, veterans and their families have made for our Nation."During the first phase of this partnership, military personnel will train and develop wartime construction skills while installing new infrastructure, utilities and road to the planned Project Sanctuary retreat facility. Military units will serve on a two week deployment at Snow Mountain Ranch, this training is designed to better equip soldiers, sailors, and airmen for their required wartime and state emergency building skills. The Project Sanctuary retreat facility is a donor funded project; join the effort by donating to the retreat facility online at www.projectsanctuary.us, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 877-686-6968. All donations will ensure that military, veterans and their families will have a place to reconnect and heal together for years to come.For additional information about Project Sanctuary, visit www.projectsanctuary.us, or email Heather Ehle at Heather@ProjectSanctuary.US. For additional information on the IRT program, visit irt.defense.gov/. For additional information about YMCA of the Rockies, visit www.ymcarockies.org, or call Laura Field at 970-215-4222.
YMCA to build new veteran and IRT retreat center
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