Symposium offers encouragement, fun
October 6, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson spouses enjoyed a day full of encouragement, education and laughter at the first Spouses Embracing Life Fully, or SELF, Symposium on Friday at the Solomon Center.
Marilynn Bailey of Army Community Services organized the event, which was the brainchild of Kim Milano, spouse of Fort Jackson's commanding general. Bailey said she used the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program as a model for symposium topics.
"Ms. Milano's vision was to have a spouse conference. A committee of senior leader spouses and ACS staff developed the SELF Symposium," Bailey said.
Symposium workshops were aimed at teaching spouses about resiliency, family enrichment activities, arts and crafts, vacation planning and physical fitness.
The event's keynote speaker was Mamie McCullough, a mother of three, author, teacher and philanthropist. McCullough encouraged spouses and kept them laughing with costumes and comical stories about her life and revelations.
"Every day, we should try to be better than we were yesterday," McCullough said.
She also suggested that spouses take action in their lives instead of complaining about why things have happened.
"I want you to be a what-ter, not a why-ner. Ask what you can do to change things, don't cry about why things are the way they are," McCullough said.
Each spouse was given a copy of McCullough's book and a hug from the affectionate speaker.
Instructors from the Master Resilience Training conducted seminars for spouses to help in dealing with emotions, problem solving and stress management.
"Emotions have a profound impact on everything we do," said MRT instructor David Ricciuti. "Our goal is to understand how they work so we can keep issues in perspective."
Spouses were taught how to use meditation, mindfulness and behavior monitoring to become aware of their emotions and navigate through stressful situations.
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fitness Department staff members showcased the on-post resources available for staying physically healthy.
"Physical Fitness is a key component of the Soldier Comprehensive Fitness model of Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds," Bailey said.
Pamela Greene, FMWR fitness programmer, answered questions and participated in demonstrations of Zumba, step aerobics, kettlebells, yoga and pilates that could be done in the home.
"We wanted to show people the resources we have to help them stay healthy. We have new massage therapy services available for people to come take advantage of also," Greene said.
Bailey said that ACS has received so many positive comments about the event that there will be symposiums in the future.
"It was a wonderful and eye-opening conference," said Air Force spouse Regina Hinnart. "This has reminded me to take time for myself because we all get wrapped up in the kids so often. This was great."