By Mark Iacampo, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria-HohenfelsJuly 7, 2014
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Fancy china and fancier hats added flair and fun to Hohenfels Army Community Service's latest resiliency class, recently, as spouses gathered to sip tea and socialize in a scene straight out of "Downton Abbey."
"Resiliency is about taking time, enjoying life, doing things for yourself sometimes, and a lot about connection," said Laura Clagett, Mobilization and Deployment program manager. "So this tea party is a way to connect women in the community doing something fun and different."
The class kicked off with 'creating connections bingo,' an icebreaker game which encouraged participants to mingle and learn fun facts about their fellow party-goers.
"Sometimes in this crazy world we live in, communication can be difficult, it can be hard to meet new people," Clagett said. "This tea party gives us an opportunity to talk, mingle and enjoy ourselves and build that resiliency for what we have to face."
While participants sipped tea and munched finger-foods and desserts, Clagett led discussions on how integral clear communication is to both relationships and resiliency.
"Living the mobile military lifestyle can be hard, but resiliency is the key to not only mastering what the military throws at you, but also enjoying it," said Clagett. "If we utilize the tool of communication, we can master this stuff."
Participants spent the afternoon practicing the tools of communication and connection with games such as 'purse scavenger hunt,' which provided laughs and prizes, and shared words of wisdom and support with each other.
"Be grateful," participant Lisa Dixon advised the group. "Be grateful for the small things in life, like having tea with people you may not have the opportunity to talk to otherwise."
"Women need encouragement and empowerment from each other," said Linda Harvey, ACS division chief. "We're here to enjoy each other and give strength to each other."
Alma Aguilar said she initially signed up for the class because her 5-year-old daughter Olivia loves to dress up like a princess and have tea parties.
"But I really enjoyed it, too," she said. "The training, mixed with the 'women time' was really fun."
Donna Gotel agreed, adding that this was the first tea party she's ever attended.
"I was Googling what to wear - is it a long dress or short, what kind of hat do I need," Gotel laughed. "It's given me lots of ideas."
To better prepare for future tea parties, the ladies took turns reading humorous sections on 'tea party etiquette' with advise on when to extend your pinky finger, where to place your napkin, and an admonishment to never use your tea to wash down a large bite of food.
Nickayla Myers-Garner said that while meeting and sharing tea with new people was a lot of fun, she also really appreciated the day's training.
"I think it's very important that we develop skills to help us be resilient," she said. "The military life throws a lot at us and it's excellent that we're learning the techniques of how to adapt to change."
"This is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon," she added.