Health council meeting provides wellness, employee advice to Garrison
June 14, 2012
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (June 14) -- Garrison employees learned about a new fitness program during the Quarterly Community Health Promotion Council meeting June 12 in the Army Management Staff College Seminar Room.
The initiative, Civilian Health and Fitness program, is a six month plan designed to encourage employees to exercise and eat healthy.
Participants are granted one hour of administrative leave three times per week to perform Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports and fitness team approved exercises such as walking, weight training and aquatic fitness.
Supervisors must approve leave time, which can occur at anytime, including an hour added to 30 minute lunch breaks.
Full time garrison appropriated and non-appropriated fund employees are eligible to participate, while flex schedule workers, contractors and firefighters are not.
"The intent of the program is to get people energized about fitness and wellness," said Sheila Edwards, DFWMR fitness director, who explained the program is designed to create a fitness habit for employees. "It's to jumpstart you possibly continuing that healthy lifestyle after six months."
The Community Health Promotion Council meets quarterly to discuss, education, and awareness training in reference to the Fort Belvoir community.
Soldiers and Department of Defense employees listened to information provided by DFMWR and other organizations such as the Army Substance Abuse and Prevention program and the Employee Assistance Program.
Representatives from the garrison offices provided information regarding workplace wellness tips on topics ranging from suicide prevention to handling performance issues.
Mica Koefod, DFWMR fitness program specialist, presented the fitness program and discussed the two different courses for the program -- individual and structured.
Employees in the individual course are expected to independently perform their workout regimen while keeping track of their progress. Sign-ups for the individual course start July 1.
Sign-ups for the structured program are tentatively scheduled for August 2012 on a first come, first served, basis.
Koefod said the structured course is designed to help employees develop personal workout routines.
"We want to provide this program as extra incentive for people who might not have the knowledge, who are a little uneasy with exercise or just want to learn more," Koefod said. "This will be catered to those individuals who would like some extra help."
Participants will receive nutritional instruction, premade workouts and are required to attend a health fair and complete three fitness assessments during the course.
"We want to see if this program is working for people because, if not, we want to change some things to make sure people are getting the most out it," Koefod said.
The fitness plan presentation was the first during the Health Promotion Council.
Katina Oates, Employee Assistance Program program manager, followed DFMWR with a discussion about the EAP.
The program provides free counseling services to employees suffering from issues such as depression, anxiety, Family issues and abusive relationships.
"There can be several circumstances occurring in your life that, when you come to work, you don't feel as productive," Oates said "You may require a person to pinpoint and assess the critical problems you're facing and that person would be myself."
Oates said she teaches stress management techniques to help employees perform better at work and feel better at home.
"Right now in the workplace, stress is the number one problem," Oates said.
Appropriated and non appropriated funded Department of Defense civilians, retired military, and Family members of these employees and active duty military can use the EAP service.
Milagros Frank, ASAP suicide prevention manager, continued the discussion on workforce morale by urging employees to seek help for themselves or others considering suicide.
Frank encouraged employees to express concern to colleagues who display changes in behavior and mood.
"Also let them know that you're there to listen. Most people all they want is somebody to listen. You're not going solve their problems, just listen. Sometimes that's all it takes," Frank said.
Frank said employees can call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK if they or a colleague is considering suicide. Frank said employees can also call her office.
• For information on the suicide prevention program, call (703) 805-5529.
• For information on the Employee Assistance Program, call (703) 805-5529.
• For information on the Civilian Health and Fitness program, call (703) 806-5589.