About Our Family Events
The Yellow Ribbon Program’s one- and two-day events are intended to be a pleasant way for deploying Soldiers and families to learn about the deployment process and ensure a safe, healthy and successful reintegration. By bringing Soldiers and their families to various non-military locations in Florida, we provide both important
information and services and activities for the whole family.
The Yellow Ribbon Program’s events are conducted in an informal relaxed atmosphere usually in a hotel or non-military location in the communities in which the Soldiers serve. All Soldiers are required to attend and are strongly encouraged to bring their family members. Family members attending the events are placed on invitational travel orders and may be eligible to receive reimbursed travel expenses for meals not provided, mileage round trip, and hotel accommodations.
In addition to hosting the event in a hotel or other non-military location, the Yellow Ribbon program provides child care and conducts an assortment of activities for children. Parents may drop off their children to the child care facility located at the event location right after breakfast and we handle the rest. For younger children, we provide toys, crafts, and games. For the older kids, their are videos and video games like Guitar Hero and Wiis. We also provide movies, snacks and a lunch while the parents are having lunch in the main auditorium.
For parents and couples, there are activities on top of the deployment and redeployment information briefings and breakout sessions. We include a session called “Keeping Your Relationship Strong During Deployment” aimed specifically at marital and pre-marital relationships.
We purposely choose luxury hotels with special pricing and access to nice restaurants in the vicinity.
In addition, most hotels extend government per diem rates 3 days prior and 3 days after the event allowing families to plan a mini vacation around the event. Many hotel and resorts we select have spa facilities with couples packaging available.
Since the program began, families have enjoyed Yellow Ribbon events at such travel destinations as the Rosen Shingle Creek and Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, Embassy Suites in Tampa, Marriot Resort Jacksonville, Sawgrass Marriot in Ponte Vedra Beach, and Marriot West Palm Beach.
A Typical Day…
The day begins with a continental breakfast and consists of a series of mini briefings from the various agencies and service providers advertising what they have available for Soldiers and family members. The Attendees are given several opportunities to visit the resource tables throughout the day. Licensed counselors are on hand for personal confidential meetings.
Counselors in education, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Family Readiness, Transition Assistance, and legal advisers are also on hand. After lunch attendees are afforded an opportunity to meet personally with specific counselors in private sessions.