[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                  February 11, 2011

Army Community Service offers resilience training at McCoy

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Building resiliency skills can improve outlooks and lives, said Lorie Retzlaff.

Retzlaff of Fort McCoy’s Army Community Service (ACS) Center, taught a “Resilience and the ‘Good Stuff’” course Feb. 1-2 at Fort McCoy. Retzlaff attended a Master Resiliency Trainers course in 2010 at the University of Pennsylvania to prepare.

PHOTO: Lorie Retzlaff (standing) instructs a “Resilience and the ‘Good Stuff’” course at Army Community Service. Photo by Rob Schuette
Lorie Retzlaff (standing) instructs a “Resilience and the ‘Good Stuff’” course at Army Community Service.

Master Resiliency Training is an offshoot of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. It’s broken down into four modules: resilience, building mental toughness, building character strengths and connections. Retzlaff instructed the first two modules Feb. 1-2. The third module, building character strengths, will be taught May 10. The fourth module will be offered at a future date.

“Much of the training involves exercises, where participants draw upon their own experiences and during which they discuss how they can build resilience and improve their lives,” Retzlaff said. “Resilience is the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity.”

Retzlaff said participants can enhance their effectiveness and well-being by learning about resilience through the contributing competencies, such as self-awareness, self-regulation, optimism, mental agility, strengths of character and connection.
Resilience, like a circle, has no beginning and no end and is well-rounded, Retzlaff said.

“Resilient people bounce and don’t break,” Retzlaff said. “Sometimes in resilience, it’s appropriate to ask for help in dealing with a stressful situation. It’s important to remember that everyone can develop resilience. It is not something you either have or you don’t. Resilience is about regulating emotion, knowing when to slow down, and it is a process not a destination.”
People interested in improving their resiliency should go to the CSF website at http://www.army.mil/csf, click on the appropriate category, and complete the Global Assessment Tool, Retzlaff said.

Michelle Reese, a course attendee from Lodging, said mood is determined by how a person reacts to and perceives a situation.

“Optimism is huge. You have to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel or the silver lining in a cloud,” she said.
Reese said the training helped her analyze what she was doing wrong in certain situations, how she reacted and what she can do to improve a situation.

Nick Olson, an attendee from the ChalleNGe Academy, said he believed the information would be helpful to implement resiliency training with the young adults who attend the academy’s program. The academy helps at-risk students, called cadets, of high-school age.

“We already teach them about resilience, but this gives us more tools to teach character and platoon development,” Olson said. “We can help the cadets have an optimistic view as they make their plans for the future and help them reach their goals.”

“The Resilience Factor,” a book by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté, is a good reference, and was used in the training at the University of Pennsylvania, Retzlaff said. Reivich is a University of Pennsylvania professor and researcher who was the master trainer during Retzlaff’s training there. The book is available for checkout through the ACS Resource Library. For more information about ACS programs, including resiliency, call 608-388-3505 or visit the ACS facility, building 2111. Resilience training may also be requested by submitting a Training Request Form to ACS at http://www.mccoymwr.com.

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