The Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund has approved a $90,000 grant to support outdoor activities for veterans at Camp Ripley near Little Falls and at Veterans on the Lake Resort near Ely.
According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, the grant will provide $30,000 a year for three years to support lodging and food for four outdoor veterans outreach programs.
For more than 25 years, the Minnesota National Guard training base at Camp Ripley has hosted a deer hunt, and in recent years has added a turkey hunt and a fishing event known as Trolling for the Troops. For more than 40 years Veterans on the Lake has hosted a veterans fishing event each May.
Veterans service organizations have been the mainstay in funding these events through donations from the posts and chapters around the state.
Participants are chosen from a blind drawing of applications conducted by a third party. Those with disabilities and limitations are given priority.
The groups are recruiting a new generation of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Younger vets are teamed with older vets at the events and provide opportunities to bridge the generation gap while spending time together in the field or on the water.
Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund was created by the sale of Big Island on Lake Minnetonka to the City of Orono. The interest from that fund provides grants for veterans projects.
Big Island Veterans Camp was at one time a veterans' getaway. In 2005 the island was purchased by the City of Orono for $5.8 million, and Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans was formed to provide stewardship of the money received through the sale of the camp.