Warrior Adventure Quest pilot program at Fort McCoy supports Soldiers
July 11, 2011
FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- A pilot Warrior Adventure Quest program held at Fort McCoy in June trained 150 Soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard how to handle post-deployment stress.
Pam Budda, Outdoor Recreation and Sports Director for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR), said the goal of the program, endorsed by the Department of the Army and sponsored by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, is to mitigate high-risk behaviors following deployments.
Events included zip-line, rock climbing, ropes courses, paintball, kayaking and canoeing. These high-adventure programs simulate adrenaline experienced during deployment and teach Soldiers a safe outlet to experience their “new normal,” Budda said.
Other aspects of the program also trained leadership to continue to work with Soldiers back at home stations, focusing on individual and unit resilience that normalizes physical and emotional reactions, vertical and horizontal bonding, cohesion and esprit de corps.
Budda said the program consisted of events that ran three to four hours. The Soldiers also received Comprehensive Soldier Fitness training in a different venue to provide an all-around, in-depth experience.
“Overall, it was a very good experience for the Soldiers,” Budda said. “We are looking forward to continuing to offer the program.”
Budda said Soldiers reacted positively to the pilot program.
Post-training input indicated Soldiers liked the team building and the team work needed for the events of the program, which would benefit the unit after it is deployed.
The support and positive feedback received from fellow Soldiers during the event helped the Soldiers complete the tasks at hand as well as showed the participants they had each other’s “back,” which is critical during a deployment, one Soldier commented.
Another respondent said Soldiers had an opportunity to talk and work with helping people he did not interact with very often outside the event. A Soldier summed up the program by saying it would be a great program to attend after a deployment.
Budda said the program is geared toward Soldiers returning from combat and returning from their first block of leave, usually 60-120 days after deployment.
“Fort McCoy will offer the course for any unit,” Budda said.
For more information about the program, call 608-388-6461 or 1-800-531-4703.