Volunteers recognized at annual workshop

Virginia National Guard senior leaders thank adult and youth volunteers for their significant contributions at the 2016 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium May 21, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia National Guard senior leaders thank adult and youth volunteers for their significant contributions at the 2016 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium May 21, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia National Guard senior leaders thanked adult and youth volunteers for their significant contributions at the 2016 Virginia National Guard State Volunteer Recognition Workshop & Youth Symposium May 21, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia.

The purpose of the volunteer workshop and youth symposium is to recognize volunteers and thank them for everything they’ve done over the past year in support of family programs including family readiness groups, youth camps and various other programs. The event also featured training sessions and representatives from various organizations who provided additional resources for Guard families.

“Virginia National Guard Volunteers are the heart and soul of our program,” said Vickie Sais, State Family Programs Director. “With a high deployment tempo this past year, family readiness volunteers have taken care of our families and provided them a level of comfort that they know they will get the information and support they need. Youth volunteers have also provided a network of support for our children and teens that builds resilience in our military youth and teaches them the steadfastness of the National Guard family. The difference volunteers make is nothing short of legendary and we could not run our program without their dedicated commitment to serve others.”

Sais said that more than 225 volunteers assisted with Family Readiness Programs and Youth Programs in the last year. From April 2015 to April 2016, adult volunteers provided almost hours of support and youth volunteers offered nearly 4,100 hours. Based on the independent sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour being $22.55 per hour, volunteers provided more than $211,000 worth of support to the Guard’s mission.

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and other leaders presented certificates to volunteers and thanked them for their hard work.

Volunteers take on any number of roles in support of the commander’s readiness program including Family Readiness Group leaders and co-leaders, phone tree callers, FRG fund treasurers and newsletter editor, she said.

All support the ability for commanders to disseminate pertinent and relevant family information to designated family members of Virginia Soldiers and Airmen. In addition to helping with information flow, they also provide referrals to resources when needed and support to the Soldiers and their family members when necessary.

Both youth and adult volunteers provided support to the various activities hosted by the Youth Program including the Teen Camp for ages 13 to 17, the Youth Camp for ages 8 to 12, Teen Resiliency Retreats, Back to School Bashes, Community Service Projects, Teen Panel Trainings and events in partnership with 4-H.