In January 2022, the Armed Forces Initiative had not held an official event in four months. BHA had 1400 AFI Members. The AFI consisted of six installation clubs and five state liaisons putting on 10 events annually for 15 members of the military community per event.
Where we are:
In July of 2022 the Armed Forces Initiative has held 20 events in the first seven months of 2022 with more than 25 more events planned by the end of the year. AFI supporters now number over 11,000, on 48 active installations and in 42 states. Of those 11,000 members, 9,000 hold an active membership, and 5,500 have donated more than just their membership fees to BHA for a total donated amount of $1.4 million. We now have clubs at 20 active-duty installations and a liaison in place in 24 states.
Where we are going:
This growth rate has been exactly the push the AFI program needed coming out of a stagnant 2021. Efforts by volunteers planning and executing field events will put more than 600 members of the military community in the backcountry in 2022. Because of these efforts, the military community has become a powerful voice in the conservation conversation within BHA and in the highest level of government. In June, the Armed Forces Initiative was one of six groups asked to interview with the VA to help find ways to get veterans outdoors and work through the task force for the Accelerating Veterans recovery Outdoors Act.