MN National Guard Family Programs

January 2023

Who we are

Minnesota National Guard Family Programs coordinates with state, federal, and contract personnel to connect service members, veterans, and their families to resources that help meet their needs. Family Programs promotes awareness and self-reliance in service members and their families by preparing, assisting, and supporting them throughout their military service. To learn more, visit the Family Programs website.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon looks to future

Minnesota’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, known as BTYR, had a busy year in 2022, filled with events, activities, a new team, and plans for the future.

Through its community and corporate partnerships, BTYR provides military veterans, service members, and their families in all branches a wide range of support, including deployment readiness, family assistance and resources, youth programs, educational and career opportunities, and more. The community and corporate partnerships work together to raise awareness, recognize, celebrate, and meet the needs of Minnesota’s military community.

“With the decline in retention, it is important now more than ever that our military-connected families feel supported by their communities,” said Stefanie Hurt, the new community outreach coordinator for northern Minnesota. “Recruit a soldier, retain a family.”

This year, the team, along with community and corporate volunteers, connected with fairgoers during Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair in August. The team also held conferences in April and November for BTYR companies and organizations to share best practices in supporting the military community in the workplace and beyond. For the holiday season, Meals from the Heart along with community and corporate sponsors and volunteers teamed up to raise funds, pack, and deliver food for those in need in the military community.

Community networks across the state hosted successful events, including golf tournaments, cookoffs, Veterans Day programs, sporting events, picnics, fundraisers, and sending care packages to deployed service members.

As a National Guard service member, Shawn Powell, the new community outreach coordinator for southern Minnesota, knows first-hand the impact the community networks can make.

“I enjoyed the BTYR care packages sent to us in the Middle East and the BTYR family events on the home front,” Powell said. “It’s important to sustain the outreach within each BTYR city, county, company, and all networks as well as ensure all families are aware of the BTYR network in their community and the support they can receive.”

In the corporate network, six companies were proclaimed as new BTYR companies or organizations, making a total of 79 active companies and organizations since the program was established in 2008. Companies’ and organizations’ efforts are an ongoing commitment to supporting military employees and communities that builds a stronger and more compassionate, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

In 2023, the team plans to continue to reenergize community network partners, host a Joining Community Forces event, establish a stronger public presence, and strengthen the relationship and collaboration between the community and corporate networks.

“We plan to create ways to connect our BTYR corporate and community networks to promote volunteer opportunities, share best practices, and increase opportunities for our military-connected families throughout the state,” said Taylor Kristoffe-Jones, the new BTYR corporate outreach coordinator, who plans to also identify new partners that would be interested in being part of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network.

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Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, presents to St. Paul College President Deidra Peaslee the proclamation signed by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declaring St. Paul College a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon organization at a ceremony on campus last October.

BTYR to be featured on military radio show

Beyond of the Yellow Ribbon outreach coordinators Shawn Powell and Taylor Kristoffe-Jones will be featured guests on Minnesota Military Radio next month. Tune in Feb. 5 at 7 am. on Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130 or anytime at

Food for military families in need available

Meals from the Heart and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon are partnering to provide food for service members and families in need in February. Pick-up locations will be at armories and airwings in Arden Hills, Brainerd, Cambridge, Camp Ripley, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Faribault, Mankato, Montevideo, New Ulm, Rosemount, St. Cloud, and St. Paul. Register by Feb. 5 at

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Reintegration program supports service members, families

When National Guard and Reserve members prepare for activation, mobilization, or deployment it requires support from families, commanders, and local communities.

The Department of Defense Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, knowns as YRRP, recognizes the journey is not easy and begins long before orders are published. Questions arise such as: "Who will my family turn to? How will this affect my finances? What legal documents do I need in place during before I leave?"

YRRP serves as the primary connection to support Guard and Reserve members as they navigate their wellbeing, readiness, and family challenges through all phases of the deployment cycle with in-person events and online curriculum.

Register for a YRRP in-person event before, during, or after activation, mobilization, or deployment. Online courses are at

Military families spend night with sea life

More than 50 service members and their children attended the overnight stay at Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America recently. The guests enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, met other military families, and slept under the sea in a tunnel with marine life floating above them.
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Upcoming events and special offers

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Reach out to us!

Minnesota National Guard Family Programs

600 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101


Follow Family Programs on Facebook and Instagram
and visit the Family Programs website.

Minnesota Beyond the Yellow Ribbon


Follow on Twitter and Facebook and visit the BTYR website.