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Guard offers resiliency training to servicemembers, families

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Officials with the National Guard Resiliency Center showcased their training program Sep. 24 here at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in an effort to give military leaders, both enlisted and officers, the tools they need to deal with stress.

The training program, titled "Flash Forward - Soldiers and Leaders Guide to Resiliency," is focused on incorporating resiliency into the culture of the Army and Air National Guard, said Tonya Ricklefs, a Family Resiliency Program specialist with the center.

"It is important for the future stability of the National Guard," said Army Brig. Gen. Renwick Payne, special assistant to the director of the Army National Guard. "Each individual is not inherently knowledgeable in these things."

The program is a new approach to the way Guard leaders ensure the wellness of Guardsmen.

"We have moved from a time of addressing the needs of the individual (servicemembers) to also include the needs of the families," General Payne said.

The program also is available to all local, state and nongovernmental organization personnel and their families whose duties place them in harm's way. Its mission is to provide the education and training necessary to instill tools to handle high-level stress, accurately identify potential problems and develop both individual and group techniques to survive and prosper in times of great stress.

The staff at the center will create a family module, which will focus on the families of servicemembers, said Ms. Rickfels, adding "we want to provide support to the families while their loved ones are deployed and when they return."

A major aspect of the resiliency training is evaluating stress with a focus on self-assessment.

"If you can't assess yourself, you can't assess others," said Air Force Col. Jill Hendra, the joint forces surgeon for the North Carolina National Guard.

In the training, stress is broken down into different zones of impairment, and clear definitions, signs and responsive actions are given based on those zones.

Other key educational components include leadership skills, physical and emotional strengths, spirituality and family strengths.

The resiliency center, which was created by members of the Kansas National Guard, is the only of one of its kind, said Army Maj. Gen. Paul Gonzales, the center's officer-in-charge.

"Since its conception, we have trained units from Connecticut, Illinois and Puerto Rico who are now conducting the training," said General Gonzales. "This way we can focus on the course development."

A Web site has been launched by the center at WarFighterDiaries.com designed to foster relationships with uniformed servicemembers through short videos of actual warriors, their stories and real life experiences.

To find out more information about the National Guard Resiliency Center, its training programs or to request resiliency training, call (785) 274-1439.

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