In-service training enables resilience in child and youth services staff
Child and Youth Services staff with their award after winning a team-building exercise at the Child and Youth Services (CYS) in-service training day Oct. 6 at the Landstuhl Youth Center, which provided a comprehensive training experience. (Photo Credit: Mary Del Rosario) VIEW ORIGINAL

LANDSTUHL, Germany – Maya Angelou once said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” This sentiment was put to the test on approximately 200 occasions as staff from U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz’s Child and Youth Programs gathered for a Child and Youth Services (CYS) in-service training day Oct. 6 at the Landstuhl Youth Center, to provide a comprehensive training experience and build resiliency.

“This dedicated day allows our CYS staff to enhance their personal and professional development,” said Melissa Gironda, lead training specialist. “Additionally, this event fosters a sense of camaraderie, recognition and teamwork among our staff members, creating a supportive and collaborative work environment.”

A wide range of training sessions, spanning from 4H implementation to “How to respond to unsafe behavior,” were among those taught to staff from the child development centers (CDCs) and school age centers (SACs).

“To support our staff’s professional and personal development, we offer a range of trainings tailored to their needs and interests,” said Gironda.

In-service training enables resilience in child and youth services staff
Lloyd Scharneck, master resilience trainer and expert for R2 Program, conducting a training about resiliency during the Child and Youth Services (CYS) in-service training day Oct. 6 at the Landstuhl Youth Center, which provided a comprehensive training experience. (Photo Credit: Mary Del Rosario) VIEW ORIGINAL

However, a vital component of this in-service training was the inclusion of resiliency training delivered by the R2 (Ready and Resilience) Performance Center. This organization provides customized resilience training and education to Soldiers designed to build unit cohesion.

“We designed this training to give the people who have the utmost impact on children the opportunity to connect with different resilience skills,” said Lloyd Scharneck, master resilience trainer and expert for R2 Program.

Throughout the training, CYS staff engaged in self-reflective exercises, examining the impact of their roles at youth centers, child development centers and school age centers. They took part in group-building activities that emphasized the importance of effective communication and teamwork in successfully accomplishing tasks. Drawing from a curriculum originally designed for educators, the Army resilience program teaches valuable skills to help children cultivate adaptability in their daily lives.

Kevin Breisch, director of Sembach CDC, echoed Scharneck’s sentiments.

“We are continuing the message of mental health awareness and resiliency to our CYS workforce,” he said. “We also focus on the professional growth and development of our employees to give them the tools necessary to provide the best quality of care and customer service to our children and patrons.”

CYS trainers and directors have been preparing for the in-service training day since July.

“Though we have been planning for this training since this past summer, we started planning for these types of trainings since the beginning of this year,” said Breisch. He attributes the dedication of the staff, who put in extensive hours while also shouldering the responsibilities of being caregivers and educators, to the importance of safeguarding their mental well-being.

With a jam-packed training schedule, CYS staff emerged from the training feeling empowered and equipped with the tools to successfully navigate the challenges of a demanding classroom.

“As a lead child and youth program assistant, I need to be resilient for my team so I can better support them because if I, as a leader, am not, how can they be?” said Rex Darnell, Child and Youth Program assistant at Landstuhl Child Development Center 1. “This is also why a leadership course has been beyond valuable to me. It is great to have training and guidance because being a leader is not always easy to navigate,” he added.

In-service training enables resilience in child and youth services staff
Yessica Garcia, a Child and Youth Programs assistant from the Wetzel Child Development Center, completing a team-building exercise at the Child and Youth Services (CYS) in-service training day Oct. 6 at the Landstuhl Youth Center, which provided a comprehensive training experience. (Photo Credit: Mary Del Rosario) VIEW ORIGINAL

Yessica Garcia, a Child and Youth Programs assistant at the Wetzel CDC agreed. “This training was helpful for me as a caregiver because when I can successfully self-regulate, I can help the children do the same.”

The next scheduled training, which is evolving based on feedback and analyzing staff needs, is scheduled for Dec. 15.

Child and Youth Services deliver high-quality programs designed to benefit military children, youth, and students while simultaneously aiding the Army Family by mitigating conflicts that can arise between mission readiness and parental responsibilities.