FORT BLISS, Texas—The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and the Sergeants Major Academy created a new way for senior spouses to receive resources through the Spouse Leadership Development Course.On April 14, the NCOLCoE released a Spouse Leadership Development Course Handbook.“This book is designed for senior spouses who cannot attend the resident SLDC,” Michelle Mebane, the SLDC director, said.Mebane also added spouses would not receive a certificate of completion for reading the handbook, that the resource is for information purposes only.“It does not replace the resident Spouse Leadership Development Course at Fort Bliss, Texas,” she said.Senior spouses using the handbook are encouraged to check what programs are provided at their installations since the handbook only covers programs and services on Fort Bliss.“In addition to just providing information on community organizations, the handbook ensures spouses continue to have access to important information. Information that assists them with the security of their finances, social media, and operational security,” Darren LaVersa, the instructional design specialist of the SLDC Handbook, said.Not to be considered as a go-to guide or quick reference, the 76 pages of engaging graphics immerse the user into the content.“I was looking to develop a tool that allowed the user to feel as if they were taking a mini-course on the subject,” he said.Created to raise awareness, the tool highlights services, programs, and organizations for family members and Soldiers.“My idea was to create a single source document that had both the breadth and depth needed to assist anyone who had access to the document,” He said. “But one that also centered on any Army spouse and the Solider and Family Readiness Group.”The handbook is broken down into nine categories instead of indexes for the user to know where to find information.“I used broader concepts and ideas to engage the user in a personal way,” LaVersa said. “Where possible, I created places for the user to reflect on the material and see how and where they could apply this to their life, in their way.”The handbook gives the user the ability to receive a clear understanding of the programs and services available.“Each user will develop a baseline of information on what services and programs each community partner provides, and trust me; there are a lot of them,” he exclaimed.LaVersa further explains how this book is simply a resource, and for users to reach out to the subject matter experts.“This handbook is a guide to assist and inform people of services available, but the true experts are at the Army Community Service, Army Emergency Relief, the American Red Cross, and the Public Affairs Office, to name a few,” he said.LaVersa describes the differences between the resident SLDC and the SLDC Handbook.“During the resident SLDC, the students have many guest speakers that comprise most of the course,” LaVersa said.The guest speakers are experts in their functional areas from across the installation and provide valuable information during their block of instruction.The resident Spouse Leadership Development Course is a forty-hour course delivered over eight days to senior enlisted spouses in the rank of Master Sergeant and above. This course also includes sister service equivalents and spouses of our International Military Students attending the Sergeants Major Course.“It was essential for me that the handbook provided the same level of detail and expertise as the classroom presenter so the user could have the information he or she required to guide their decisions and potentially add value to their spouse’s organization or themselves,” he said.The handbook not only provides valuable information and resources; it also provides spouses with a holistic understanding of their role as senior mentors.“The handbook provides insight into many areas that could assist in spousal employment, cyber security, and even understanding the Army not just as an organization but as a network, and even a larger family,” LaVersa said.LaVersa commends the leadership of the NCOLCoE for finding a way to bridge the divide senior spouses were feeling with the inability to attend the resident SLDC course.“I contribute any success of this handbook going forward to the leadership at NCOLCoE because without their foresight to fill informational gaps that exist with our military spouses; this handbook would not have been created,” he said.For more information on the SLDC Handbook visithttps://www.ncoworldwide.army.mil/Academics/Spouse-Leadership-Development-Course/