In a highly-skilled military environment, attending an average “death by PowerPoint” resiliency training is certainly nothing to get fired up about. But when your agenda highlights Warrior Yoga, a horse ranch and Usama Young, a New Orleans Saints Super Bowl XLIV champ, now that’s something service members and their Families can get excited about.
The USO of North Carolina hosted 47 service and Family members representing all branches for a three-day Warrior Reset program at their Jacksonville, North Carolina office, Nov. 6 to 8. PowerPoint slides were replaced with fun activities, like journal writing, choreographed dance routines, horse-talk and a healthy dose of “namaste.”
Randy M. Baker, USO of NC Warrior and Family Programs manager, said the USO of NC’s Warrior Reset program is built on the principles of stress management, suicide prevention, relationship strengthening and camaraderie. It helps attending service members to become more successful and resilient leaders in their communities and in their units.
The program topics touched on a range of resiliency concepts, such as mentorship, deployment, money matters, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, communication, personal wellness and expressing feelings through dance.
The hands-on learning was a big hit with service members, providing a unique spin on reinforcing fundamental resiliency principles.
“I enjoyed morning PT (Warrior Yoga) the most because it’s a spin on what we currently do at work with our companies,” said PV2 Brandon Emerson, Forward Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion. “It’s more focused.”
The Four Lenses class was one of the big hits among several attending warriors. Participants used an individual assessment tool and determined their personality profile based on four temperament classifications — Blue, Gold, Green and Orange.
After learning about the distinct values within each temperament group and their respective relationship to one another, many service members commented on the benefits of applying the Four Lenses principles when motivating and understanding others in their unit.
“I really enjoyed the four lenses aspect,” said Sgt. Mecca Watkins, U.S. Army National Guard Training Tech in Facilities/Operation at the 139th Regional Training Institute. “I am definitely going to bring that back (to my unit), so we can learn each personality and how people work to communicate better with each other.”
Emerson agreed.
“I’ll probably use the Four Lenses training (at work) and learn to interact better with other people who do not normally mix well with other personalities.”
During the conflict resolution class, Stephen Scoggins, CEO and Founder of The Journey Principals Institute, discussed the positive impacts of leadership communication and how leading with positive feedback before introducing corrective changes enables military leaders to focus on the problem, not the person.
“Especially (with) those who push buttons, it’s easier to focus on them than it is to focus on what it is their doing or what they’re doing wrong,” said Scoggins. “Inspire the change and ask great questions to yourself and to them. Help them discover what’s missing.”
The program highlight for service members seemed to be Usama Young’s “Leadership from Within” class. The Super Bowl champion emphasized the value of resiliency by sharing the last time he played football and the tackle that ended his professional career. Despite knowing that his ACL injury ended a dream for which he had trained his whole life, he stayed positive and thanked God for still being able to feel his toes.
Young credited his ability to bounce back to the values instilled in him by his father and their strong bond.
“(Pops always said) go out there, be resilient. There’s going to be tough times. Do it for your team, those guys that are right next to you and those guys that are around you. Every play, go all out,” Young said. “That was my foundation — being selfless, being resilient, having that core bond and being faithful that things are going to happen.”
Young’s optimism and core family bonds resonated with several service members.
“I (too) lean on Family and my wife because her dad did 38 years in the Army, so between the two of us, we’ve either seen or done pretty much anything that the military can throw at us,” said Master Sgt. Adam Justin, 20th Engineer Brigade. “We talk together and work it out as a team.”
“I usually call home and talk to my Family to feel like I’m back at home for a little bit,” said Spc. Chance Lauf, 161st Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Bn. “It feels like I’m actually there and not where I’m at and that makes me feel (less) homesick.”
The USO of NC designs their military resiliency programs to compliment services provided by the military and other organizations.
“We look to fill gaps and work hand-in-hand with those organizations,” said Baker. “Our programs are consistently changing based on feedback from not only military leaders, but also our service members themselves.”
Typically, service members are selected for the program by their units and are known to be proven leaders, or up-and-coming leaders in their units, and have at least one year left in the military.
“Spouses are invited to attend alongside their service member and benefit from the program as well,” Baker said.
“The Warrior Reset is a good training that I recommend for Soldiers in general and all service members should get to come out and experience this,” said Spc. “Sean” Johnson, a Fort Bragg Soldier. “Resiliency skills help us find our meaning because sometimes, as Soldiers, we forget our meaning and what our calling is. Resilience training brings us back to our true selves again.”
To learn more about USO of NC’s programs available to Fort Bragg service members and their Families, visit https://northcarolina.uso.org/fortbragg. The Fort Bragg USO of NC center is located on the first floor of the Soldier Support Center (Building 4-2843 Normandy Drive) and may be reached at 495-1437.