Peers: Necessary Ingredient of Well-Being

Pat Ross

Team Rubicon unites the skills of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy disaster response teams. The strength of Team Rubicon is its membership. Through the action of being part of the nonprofit organization, volunteers redefine their sense of purpose, rejoin a community, and reshape their identity. Within this community, naturally forming peer support takes shape.



These internal peer networks are one of Team Rubicon’s defining attributes. It is literally in our name. We are team-focused. Everyone has a role, and we know it. The peer aspect of our culture really comes to life in the field. There is no rank in Team Rubicon — just assignments, tasks, and a spirit of service. Imagine you’re on a disaster response operation with Team Rubicon. You hit the field with 50 fellow volunteers who, like you, made a commitment to be there when disaster strikes. From dawn to dusk, you work together towards a common objective for the day.



You knock out daunting jobs, impossible to achieve alone. When the body is occupied, the mind clears and more often than not, the tongue loosens. 

Bonds are forged deep in debris and hard work. When the day concludes, you head back to the Forward Operating Base to clean up, debrief, and relax with the team. Imagine the power of that debrief. Men and women from across the globe, from all walks of life and branches of service, now friends, sharing sea stories and memories around an evening bonfire while chowing down on a well-earned meal; talking, remembering, encouraging. We cultivate an environment of trust and respect, but it is also earned. Peers, rather than managers, or formally appointed leaders, are the ones most influential when we are in need of a nudge, referral, or recommendation. Who do you trust most?

The cross-generational and inclusive nature of Team Rubicon gives us an organic opportunity to learn from each other. Just as the young can teach the experienced, the experienced mentor the new. It’s a natural cycle, just like when we were in the military. We accept military veterans, first responders, and kick-ass civilians onto our team. Each one of these groups brings unique perspectives. Having non-veteran civilians on the team is critical to successful veteran reintegration. They are an equal and valuable component of the team. Learning, sharing, and empathizing can now occur in two directions instead of just insularly as an organization of only military veterans.

A Few Ways We Earn Trust as Peers

Action oriented
— We’re comprised of practitioners who are action-oriented and focused on results. Here are two examples: To see our effect on those affected by disasters, check out our list of operations and our overview of our 2017 Annual Impact Survey analysis.

Transparent — Openness breeds trust. As volunteers collaborate with best in class organizations, we too are holding ourselves accountable. Peer into our data: the Open Initiative.

Authentic — Each volunteer contributes to our tribal culture. Team Rubicon opens the opportunity to serve humanity through disaster response. There is no hidden agenda — just a passion to serve. We provide the opportunity to work alongside service-oriented people and to get sweaty, dirty and smiley.

We’re seeking military veterans and kick ass civilians who are ready to step into the humanitarian arena and help people on their worst day. Who do you know who is built to serve?

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