By Anneliesa Barta, Fort Carson Sustainability Marketing and PlanningDecember 8, 2010
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- "Look at what you create and you will know who you are," said the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Jim Ciletti at the closing session of the 2010 Southern Colorado Sustainability Conference & Expo.
Fort Carson explored the topic of personal sustainability and resiliency at the conference Nov. 18-19 at the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs.
"What we are creating at (Fort Carson) is a sustainable community full of resilient people who have a desire to thrive in a clean, healthy environment, and contribute to building a vibrant, local economy," said Alicia Archibald, one of the conference planners at Sustainable Fort Carson. Sessions focused on Strong Bodies, Strong Minds, Strong Families and Resilient Workforce.
Overall, sustainability is not just about protecting nature, said Brig. Gen. James Doty, senior acting commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. "This (conference) is what sustainability is all about. Taking care of the environment is important but above all we must protect our most valuable resource - people ... Soldiers, Families, civilian workforce and the community at large."
Garrison Commander Col. Robert McLaughlin introduced each conference session. "In order to operationalize sustainability on the installation, as well as inspire and motivate our surrounding communities, we are shining the light on health, wellness and resiliency of our Soldiers, Families, civilians and community," he said.
Topics included spiritual, mental and physical fitness and health of Soldiers, their Families, civilians and the community as a whole. Speakers and panelists discussed the connection between personal sustainability, the environment and the mission. Simply stated: A healthy environment sustains Families. Healthy Families sustain Soldiers. Healthy Soldiers sustain the mission.
Various military and community resources in the Pikes Peak region that work to develop a resilient, thriving community were discussed.
Col. Thomas Vail, deputy director, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, joined the conference from Department of Army Headquarters to give a presentation of the CSF program. Additional speakers included: Paralympics silver medalist and associate director, Community and Military Programs, John Register, from the U.S. Olympic Committee; Col. Todd Heussner, 4th Infantry Division Rear Detachment; and representatives from the U.S. Army Public Health Command, Evans Army Community Hospital, Army Community Service, Fort Carson's Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse programs, El Paso County Department of Health and Environment and Aspen Pointe Enterprises.
"Sports has a dramatic impact on our overall health," Register said. "Not only does it foster teamwork, accountability, and play; it also sustains our way of life by allowing us to enjoy a better quality of life."
"We are so fortunate to live and work in a community that keeps asking, 'What else can we do'"' said Kristen Kea, manager, Warrior Family Community Partnership. "The rapid growth and changes within our environment make it difficult for many to keep up with current information. The sustainability conference was a great way to get two-way feedback about what Fort Carson and our community is doing to take care of our greatest resource - Soldiers and Families."
An outcome of the conference is that Fort Carson's sustainability team has forged new relationships and explored many resources to support ongoing efforts to achieve a resilient and sustainable community.
"The sessions have created a solid foundation from which to build a program that will be a model for the Army," Archibald said.