The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it is expanding its partnership with nonprofit Operation Song to launch a series of songwriting retreats aimed at helping Veterans share and cope with military experiences through music.
Operation Song is hosting 10 Veterans for a three-day weekend retreat in Nashville, Tennessee, from Aug.15-17.
“VA is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to care for Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This includes using creative arts therapies in conjunction with community partners to help Veterans express themselves when conventional therapeutic methods may not be enough.”
Founded by Grammy and Dove-award nominated songwriter, Bob Regan, Operation Song’s first three-day music retreat in partnership with VA was held in Nov. 2018. During that event professional songwriters and VA therapists worked with Veterans to write and record songs.
The Nashville-based organization has worked with hundreds of Veterans from nearly every military conflict to tell their sometimes-challenging stories using music.
While a background in music is not necessary to participate, interested Veterans must be referred by their VA health care provider, be able to function independently and willing to travel to the retreat location. The program is offered at no cost to Veteran participants.
VA’s Voluntary Service, Veterans Canteen Service and Recreation Therapy Service, collaborate with Operation Song to coordinate these events. This year’s program will be fully funded through the generous support of Veterans Canteen Service, however, VA encourages donations and sponsorships from organizations and individuals who would like this type of programming to reach as many Veterans as possible. To volunteer or donate, visit www.volunteer.va.gov/apps/VolunteerNow/default.asp.
For more information about Operation Song, visit www.operationsong.org/. To read stories from the 2018 retreat, visit VA’s official blog, Vantage Point. To watch the promotional video for these retreats, go to VA’s Official YouTube webpage.