By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 7, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 7, 2014) -- Army Substance Abuse Program, along with Rucker Lanes, hosted a resiliency bowl-a-thon Aug. 1 to help Soldiers and civilians connect with each other outside the office, which in the long term will help them stay resilient.
"What does it mean to be resilient for Soldiers? Does it mean having the mental, physical, emotional and behavioral ability to face and cope with adversity, or is it the ability to adapt to change? It's both, plus being able to recover and learn and grow from setbacks. But how do we build that resiliency for when people need it," asked Denise Clarke, risk reduction program coordinator.
The Ready and Resilient Campaign, she continued, integrates and synchronizes multiple efforts and initiatives to improve the readiness and resilience of the Army, including its civilians and Families.
"Bowling can be a tool for people to relax. It doesn't have to be bowling, of course, it could be anything that gets you active and around friends. Anything from fishing to walking around a track can help your overall well being," said Clarke. "It can give you moments where you're not thinking about the stress of the day and gives you a moment to unwind before you try to tackle whatever might be bothering you."
Ready and Resilient builds upon mental, physical, emotional, behavioral and spiritual resilience in Soldiers, Families and civilians to enhance their ability to manage the rigors and challenges of a demanding profession, she said.
"At the heart of this initiative is a focus on building the person as an enabler to achieving enhanced performance, which directly links to the increased readiness of the individual, their unit and the Army," she added.
The event was attended by more than 260 Soldiers, Family members, civilians and agency staff. Information displays and materials on various topics were set up during the event -- including suicide prevention, worship services, bullying and wellness.
Staff from the religious support offices, child and youth services, preventive health, Army community services, ASAP and the military family life consultant were also on hand to meet participants and provide information.
The event ran from 10 a.m. until midnight, and a wide range of bowlers showed up to participate, including a few bowlers who were just a few pins away from a perfect game.
"We are having a wonderful time. This was a great idea to get us up and talking to each other out of the office. This is definitely a stress-reducing afternoon," said Deborah Seimer, garrison human resources director.
"We brought around 15 people from our offices because resiliency is really what we are all about," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Timothy Bedsole, deputy garrison chaplain. "Resiliency is built around relationships, and you really don't build a close-knit team by sitting in the office every day."
Events like the bowl-a-thon help people get the full scope of who individuals are, and this interaction builds personal relationships, which in turn builds resilience, which then builds a better, more-capable team while at the office, continued Bedsole.
"When you go into combat, if you haven't done things like this back home with your Family and your unit members, then you won't fight as effectively because these events build trust for when you need it (most)," added Bedsole.
Clarke agreed, saying she hopes participants will learn that it's OK to relax with coworkers and their battle buddies.
"This event will help with unit and office camaraderie and help people get to know each other better, which will enhance everyone's quality of life," she said.
Clarke said that if coworkers or unit members try to get to know each other better they are more likely to ask for help or guidance when or if they ever need it because they feel comfortable.
"This is a relaxed atmosphere. People are laughing and eating and encouraging each other. It's great," she said. "This is a much better way to grow resilience than say a run where you can't really interact all that much with the person next to you."
ASAP, said Clarke, hopes that Soldiers know there are many agencies on the installation that exist to help them in any way they might need.