February 10, 2017

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commander’s intent is a mission planning framework used in the military to succinctly define and describe an operation’s success.

+ Our mission in 2017: To empower veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

+ Why do we do this: We deploy veterans on new missions in their communities, so that their actions will inspire future generations to serve.

+ How will we reach mission success?

1. Launch four classes of Mission Continues Fellows and Service Platoon Leaders.

Mission Continues Fellows will deploy in their communities for six-months at nonprofit and civic organizations while working toward personal and professional goals. Each fellowship is unique and the responsibilities are designed to match the passion of each veteran with the mission of the host organization.

The first of our four classes launched in January. Applications for The Mission Continues Fellowship Program are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit our website for application dates and deadlines.

alpha2017Alpha Class 2017 deployed to Wilson Middle School in San Diego.

Service Platoon Leaders return to their communities and take the helm of individual teams of volunteers for at least one-year commitments. This won’t be the last time platoon leaders come together in 2017 either. They will convene in September alongside members of their volunteer leadership teams for our third annual Service Platoon Leader Summit.

2. Support the continued engagement and empowerment of our volunteers.

Our volunteers are The Mission Continues’ lifeblood . So it is core to our mission that we continue to engage, support and empower our Fellows, Platoon Leaders, platoon members and volunteers day-in and day-out.

This means we will not only continue to strive toward the highest standards in nonprofit operations, but will continue to iterate through, innovate on and overcome barriers to the successful delivery of services to our volunteers. What does that look like in practice?

To start, we’ll continue to add team members in major metro areas across the country, increasing the availability and accountability of our staff to our program members, volunteers and supporters. This hiring effort includes key positions in IT, project planning and program admissions.

tristan-williamson-mc-pap-11-12-2Platoon members revamp a shade structure in Phoenix’s Papago Park.

Our ability to support our volunteers will only extend as far as we understand the strengths and shortcomings of our programs, which is why we launched our largest volunteer survey ever in January.

We will also advance our objective to empower our women in blue. Our 2015 study on female veterans in our programs set the stage for our inaugural Women Veterans Leadership Summit in 2016. Our 2017 Women Veterans Leaders Summit, to take place in San Francisco from May 17-19, will pick up right where we left off, bringing together a new cohort to explore the challenges women leaders face and the value they bring to their communities.

3. Coordinate, launch and support operations in major metro areas.

We’re making an investment in major metro areas nationwide through The Mission Continues’ Operations. These coordinated, long-term efforts aim to bring together veterans through The Mission Continues’ programs with nonprofit partners and community leaders to achieve a set of objectives. We’ve seen Fellows and Service Platoons have significant impact in isolation. Now, we’re bringing them together to work toward common missions.

In the Southeast Seattle neighborhoods of Rainier Beach, veterans are plugging into a community-wide effort to make Rainier Beach a more beautiful, safe, and healthy place for everyone who calls it home. And in Pittsburgh, veterans are reporting for duty in support of Operation Homewood to eliminate urban blight in the community and help rebuild a sense of civic pride.

rainier-beach_bravo16Bravo Class 2016 reported for duty at Rainier Beach High School in support of the ongoing operation.

We’re just scratching the surface when it comes to the kind of results that focused, year-over-year, veteran-led volunteer engagement can have in our communities, so this year, we’re raising the stakes and literally, planting our flag in the ground for years to come.

4. Execute two major service campaigns and one kick-ass mass deployment.

September 11 and November 11 hold incredible importance for our nation, which is why we dedicate a national service campaign every year in recognition of each day. Our 2016 Veterans Day campaign mobilized more than 450 veterans to support 29 projects in 19 states, and we’re laying the groundwork for an even bigger campaign in 2017.

Our first mass deployment, Operation Motown Muster, injected a vital shot in the arm to ongoing community development efforts in Detroit last year.

“The veterans involved in Motown Muster left a very positive mark in our neighborhood, as their work exceeded our expectations,” said Gary Wozniak, president and CEO of RecoveryPark, a project site of the operation. ” The new community garden will help RecoveryPark provide fresh produce for neighbors without easy access to healthy foods.”

The feeling of transformation was felt among the volunteers too.

“It was an unforgettable and life-changing moment,” said Joe Mac Dizon, a Marine Corps veteran and Operation Motown Muster volunteer.

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Volunteers at Operation Motown Muster, our inaugural mass deployment, in 2016.

It’s this spirit of service that we will look to match this June. Operation Westside Surge will once again deploy a team of select veteran volunteers for the week-long event to the operation city, which in this case will be concentrated in Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods.

More information and an application to attend Operation Westside Surge is now available on our website.

+ What does mission success look like?

At a minimum, we’ll be able to mark mission success with the timely completion of our task list, detailed above. But checking off a to-do list hardly indicates whether or not our efforts actually made a difference in the lives of veterans and the communities we serve.

We know that volunteering can ease the transition experience between military and civilian life. And when we harness that sense of mission, camaraderie and purpose, we know that incredible things can happen.

In short, success will look something like this:

mission-success

We have a busy year ahead, and we’ll need every bit of support we can get. Report for duty with us at an upcoming service event near you or apply for a fellowship. You can learn more about our programs on our website and stay updated on the latest news and announcements on Facebook and twitter.