High-adrenaline program reduces risky behavior for redeploying Soldiers
November 20, 2008
ANSBACH, Germany - A free adventure program designed to help Soldiers redeploying to U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach deal with post-combat stress will hit the slopes soon.
The garrison's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation section, along with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, will sponsor alpine skiing trips to Garmisch, Germany, as part of Warrior Adventure Quest.
With approximately 2,200 12th CAB Soldiers returning from downrange, platoon-size groups of about 30 troops will take trips between January and March.
Marc Jarvis, Outdoor Recreation director, said USAG Ansbach is one of the selected garrisons in Europe to develop the Warrior Adventure Quest program as part of the Army's reset, reintegration and Battlemind training initiatives.
"It is part of the 90-day time period for Soldiers returning from deployment," said Jarvis. "Going from that high-adrenaline type mindset (while downrange) to a lower-adrenaline range upon return, gives Soldiers time to relax and release any pent up energy."
He says WAQ provides high-adventure recreational learning programs for Soldiers undergoing reset, helping them transition to the "new normal," and decrease high-risk behavior.
"All WAQ programs include a Battlemind psychological debrief and WAQ is the 'hook' to pique Soldiers' interest (outdoor versus classroom), with BMPD being the tool (for) Soldiers to learn from their experiences," said Jarvis.
He added that with a start date of Jan. 5, the majority of Soldiers will cycle through the four-day winter program during a three-month schedule at Keans Lodge and Riffelriss Trail in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with equipment and transportation provided by MWR.
And in doing so, "We want to help mitigate possible destructive behavior of Soldiers," said Jarvis, adding that the program is in line with Department of Defense-directed initiatives and services that focus on Soldiers' actions after returning from a combat zone.
WAQ uses productive recreation activities to alleviate high rates of risky and destructive behaviors attributed to some redeploying servicemembers.
"Instead of them seeking this same high-octane adrenaline rush and getting it via destructive behaviors - driving vehicles fast, child or spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse - we want to help refocus their need for high adrenaline in a positive way through this outlet."
In short, it is a learning environment with a focus on fun.
"We want to provide them with lifelong learning skills and direct them in sports that they can do for the rest of their lives in an affirmative way - trying new things, building group cohesion and esprit-de-corps, and focusing their energy in a constructive way. There is an instructional component to this program as well," said Jarvis.