Army Community Service celebrated its 51st anniversary of supporting Army Families Monday. Through the years, the program has helped Army Families improve their quality of life and remain resilient.

One way the organization supports Families is through their Resiliency Training Program.

"Resilience training will help you to develop the ability to understand the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of yourself and others," said Jody Carmack, resiliency training program coordinator.

With classes meeting each Thursday morning, the program is designed to strengthen connections with others, provide mental toughness and boost mental agility.

"It helps you to bounce back or regain your balance easier when major or minor events challenge your normal way of life," Carmack said.

Soldiers are required to participate in resiliency training while serving, so ACS offers the training to spouses. Carmack said the purpose of the program is to provide spouses with the opportunity to "be on the same sheet of music" when it comes to mental strength.

"The program also is a really nice professional/personal development course for those looking to improve their interpersonal skills at home and in the workplace," she said.

"By allowing the spouses, civilian employees and survivors the opportunity to explore the resilience concepts and how they apply to their own world, we are equipping them with the ability to function more effectively and to remain ready for the challenges the Army and life presents them with," she said.

Carmack said resiliency is a series of skills everyone possesses, but in different degrees.

"When the skills are identified and are all working together, they can uncomplicate, simplify and clarify some normally confusing, challenging or awful events or situations," she said.

Divided into four sessions, the program is conducted from 9 a.m. to noon each Thursday. On the first Thursday, participants explore concepts such as hunting for good stuff, activating events, thoughts and consequences and the avoidance of thinking traps. The second week, participants explore ways to detect icebergs in life and problem solving strategies. On the third week, class members learn to put problems into perspective, explore real-time resilience and learn about active, constructive response to praise. During the final week, participants learn ways to identify strengths in themselves and others and learn more about assertive communication.

"We teach this course with the student -centered concept," Carmack said. "In other words, we briefly present the topic, then facilitate a discussion that addresses the students questions, personal experiences and concerns."

ACS staff members encourage Family members, civilian employees and military survivors to consider taking the course.

"When life keeps throwing big issues at you like financial problems, parenting challenges, relationship issues at work and home, you need to have the tools in your tool box sharpened and ready to go. Resilience helps to keep things in perspective, reduce the drama and help all to understand how much is their own responsibility and how much responsibility is shared with others. No one is resilient all the time, but when you have a better awareness of how your skills affect these life events, it seems to take some of the pressure off," Carmack said.

Carmack said resiliency is a skill that is often hard to put into action.

"We want to allow everyone in the Fort Leonard Wood community the opportunity to enjoy our learning environment where they can comfortably and safely learn how to better interact within their life so they can reduce some of the stress our changing world continually adds," she said.

Dan Furlano, ACS director, said ACS has been helping Families for more than 50 years, and he encourages them to "invest in (their) future" by taking advantage of the programs such as resiliency training.

"Soldiers, Families and civilians will benefit from programs like resiliency because it is builds their skill set. ACS is really a skill builder by nature," Furlano said.

For more information on ACS programs, or to enroll in Resiliency Training, call 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.