By Bonnie A. RobinsonMay 2, 2016
DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah -- Dugway Army Community Service hosted a Military Spouse Campus April 20 and 21 at the Community Center at English Village. The two-day course was designed to support military spouses in their day-to-day-efforts to care for their families, each other, and the Army community.
Army Community Service Director, Greg Mason, shared a wide variety of ideas for discussion about self-awareness, goal solving skills, how to develop flexibility. He said the course would help find effective solutions to the challenges military families often experience with frequent moves and relocating children.
"These classes are here to help us learn about behavior, how we think and process experiences and the tools that are available to help us look at situations in a new light," Mason said. "We also want everyone to understand the support Army Community Service and Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation offers to families in our community."
Course work included health matters such as sleeping issues and overcoming trepidations about moving to new places. An emotional wellbeing discussion focused on how physiology and behavior affects the body and how building resilience can temper anger, fear, and depression.
"Wellbeing leads to better health, better sleep, feeling calm and better relationships," Mason said.
Homework for the first day included taking a selfie to share the second day. A selfie stick was provided as part of the packet of items to those attending the course. For most attendees this would be the first selfie they had ever taken. One returned with a photo of her feet propped up at the end of the day as she overlooked her yard. Another caught Wild Mustangs grazing outside the post front gate.
Attendees also examined topics such as mental thinking traps, how not to jump to conclusions, me vs. them and always or never thinking patterns. These topics provided pathways to new coping skills, and a way to put things in perspective.
Bart Davis, Utah Veterans State Benefits advisor spoke about Veteran's Services and Rusty Howell, Army Substance Abuse specialist talked about The Army ACE program, a suicide prevention awareness course.
Sleep and relaxation seminars created lively discussions with spouses sharing insights and tips that help them sleep better.
Spouses quickly recognized how much they had in common as experiences, advice, and family stories were shared. Wit, comedic moments, and great storytelling made the seminars entertaining and fun. The laughter soon generated new bonds of friendship.
"It's important to learn to hunt the good stuff," Mason underscored. "It builds positive emotions like optimism and gratitude for life's experiences."
For the spouses, the good stuff included a walk in the park, children laughing, stargazing, picking strawberries, fishing, and smells that brought back memories.
"Even just a quick break in the day's activities counts," Mason said. "It can be anything that makes life sweeter and more enjoyable."
Both days had a cooking workshop with quick recipes to make meal time easier, nutritious, and delicious. This led to other thoughts on family meal preparation and an exchange of favorite recipes.
Each spouse left with a better understanding of themselves and new skills to face challenges as a military spouse. Mason hopes the course leads to more involvement and service in the community and a support network created from new friendships.
"This was a fun course," said Kristi Kirschner." I learned a lot about the Dugway community and the programs here that benefit and support spouses."