By Diana Bahr, USAG Vicenza Public AffairsFebruary 26, 2008
VICENZA, Italy - Moving to a foreign country can be challenging enough; but add having a spouse on deployment, and it can seem to be a challenge of epic proportions for some.
That's where the Journey series - a U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza program - steps in.
The combination of being afraid of getting lost, afraid to drive and inability to speak the language often keeps spouses from enjoying this beautiful country, said Catherine Hurst, a deployment support assistant coordinator for the Journey series.
"The Journey series is aimed primarily to help spouses of deployed Soldiers get through a difficult time," Hurst said from her office located in the Davis Soldier and Family Readiness Center.
The series is a free program sponsored by the mobilization and deployment support office, under the umbrella of Army Community Service.
"We have three goals in the Journey series," Hurst added. "We hope to educate; to help build life skills; and to empower our spouses to become self-reliant while their Soldiers are deployed."
Every trip has an educational element. For example, a recent event was a nutrition, fitness and relaxation day, where dietician Barbara Schneider briefed participants on healthy eating, followed by a visit to near-by spa for beauty and wellness treatments.
"I heard about the event through my family readiness group e-mail," said Ardie Buechner, whose husband, Master Sgt. Bradley Buechner, is currently in Afghanistan with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
"I found Barbara's information about how simple it is to make healthy food choices and the importance of a healthy lifestyle interesting," she added. "Our free trip to the (spa) was a great find by Catherine. I plan on returning there with my husband when he re-deploys for a well-deserved relaxing weekend."
"We want to educate our spouses on the local culture," Hurst stressed. "We hope that by (participating in) these events, they will become confident about their abilities to go out and explore. We want to empower them to be able to manage day-to-day events in a foreign country when their spouses aren't around."