Platoon Photos (3)

When patriots gathered in Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation, they set out against the unknown to change their conditions for a better future.

Nearly 50 platoon and squad leaders from The Mission Continues will carry that same spirit this weekend as we kick off the first annual Service Platoon Summit, hosted by Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Committed leaders from all 30 of our service platoons are gathering to celebrate the first year of the program, hone leadership skills and develop best practices to strengthen core efforts back home. We already have a deep well from which to draw. In the first year of the program, more than 80 organizations have benefited from 38 major service events completed by over 2,000 platoon members. And we’re just getting started.

In Minneapolis, platoon members are working to eradicate homelessness. In Philadelphia, platoon members attack the many causes of poverty through key prevention efforts. And in St. Louis, platoon members work with the Boys & Girls Club to provide a safe place for underserved children.

There are countless other success stories and accomplishments from across the country, and as platoon and squad leaders learn from each other, they’ll feel galvanized and motivated to solve the greatest challenges in their communities.

But this isn’t a training summit. It’s an opportunity to strengthen our community at the local and national level. And it’s an opportunity to determine not only the legacy of our growing service platoon program, but also the legacy of our generation of veterans. We’re committed to the idea of veterans as valuable assets, and our service platoons are embedded units for positive change.

Of course, we couldn’t do this alone. Bob Woodruff Foundation is our presenting sponsor this year. Harvard’s Kennedy School is our host for the weekend, and Southwest Airlines is getting everyone into town. Bain Capital Community Partnership, already the sponsor for the Boston Service Platoon, is helping to kick off the event on November 6.

Boston has a rich tradition of revolutionary ideas and forward-thinking leaders. We’re looking forward to what’s in store this weekend, and what’s to come from this new generation of veteran leaders.

Follow the Twitter hashtag #ServiceSummit to keep up with the discussion all weekend.