Spouse Resiliency Academy
Dee Thurman, wife of Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, discusses the Fort Riley school system with a spouse at the Resilient Spouse Academy on Fort Riley, Kan.

SAN ANTONIO, May 3, 2011 -- In August of 2010, 150 individuals were selected Armywide from Army Community Service to attend a nine-day training session to become Master Resilience Trainers. Upon completion of the training, these individuals became responsible for performing resilience training for family members at their respective installations.

This builds on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program Master Resilience Training, begun in October 2008, which assists Soldiers and families in maximizing their potential physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual well-being. Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is being taught Armywide to Soldiers, family members and Department of the Army Civilians.

"This marks a new era for the Army family, by comprehensively equipping and training our Soldiers, family members, and Army civilians to maximize their potential and face the physical and psychological challenges of sustained operations," according to a Fort Hood official describing this program. "We are committed to a true prevention model, aimed at the entire force, which will enhance resilience and coping skills, enabling them to grow and thrive in today's Army."

Each installation's Army Community Service program educates Soldiers, family members and civilians based on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness model, though the program name and topics may vary at each location. Each installation's Army Community Service creates the curriculum they deem appropriate for their installation.

For example, Fort Hood, Texas, has a Family Resilience Academy with sessions conducted once a week for five weeks. Each session focuses on different subjects, such as avoiding thinking traps, energy management, real-time resilience, use of strengths in challenges, assertive communications, and constructive responding and praise.

Elke Phillips, a Family Readiness Support assistant at Fort Hood, recently participated in the Family Resilience Academy.

"In a way it was an eye opener on how I look at my actions and reactions," Phillips said. "My favorite is 'Hunt the Good Stuff.' It doesn't always have to be 'me, me me,' but can also be the influence that I can make on somebody else's situation."

According to Stephanie Mello, a Mobilization and Deployment specialist at Fort Hood's Army Community Service, the program has been life changing for her.

"I went to this training to learn what it could offer to Soldiers and families. What I came away with was a greater knowledge of myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and how to use my new skills to make me stronger and more durable," Mello said. "It has been a life changing experience, not just for me, but for my family and those I come in contact with daily."

Another solid installation model is Fort Riley's Resilient Spouse Academy. According to academy officials, "Resilience starts at home and in a networked community that cares - the Resilient Spouse Academy is strengthening that network."

The foundation of the program is to create a network of well trained spouses who feel better prepared and motivated to truly make a difference in the lives of individual Soldiers and their families.

Their program includes a series of seven-hour, five-day classes. There are several lessons taught each day, including suicide intervention, domestic violence, child abuse and substance abuse prevention, survivor support, financial assistance and wealth building.

As of December 2010, 54 Fort Riley spouses have been trained. The goal was to train 100 spouses by mid-January 2011.

Fort Riley Army Community Service is focusing on giving family members the necessary tools and resources for them to intervene in a variety of situations and guide others. The program builds family members' resilience, enabling them to help their Solders and their communities.

Most ACS programs currently offer daytime courses but are working to register interested individuals in evening programs, enabling them to reach a larger audience.

To learn more about Comprehensive Soldier Fitness visit www.army.mil/csf.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16