Resiliency seminar provides 'out of this world' experience
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The sounds of excited voices, quick shuffles and sliding chairs echoed as 100 participants piled into the mezzanine conference room of the Dragon Hill Lodge. After a short, enthusiastic introduction by the seminar facilitator, three projector monitors lit up as a clip began to play. The film began to flicker after a few moments, and all of a sudden an interference scrambled the entire screen.
As the static cleared, and a face emerged, everyone in the room realized that this was no ordinary conference. The intergalactic intruder was none other than the Galactic Ambassador for Universal Resiliency, Buddy "Rebound" Brown.
This was the premise for the 51st Fighter Wing Chapel sponsored resiliency retreat June 7-9. The event curriculum was built to help individuals adapt and 'rebound' from times of stress, anxiety and grief through reframing and humor. With the use of media examples, video clips, worksheets and exercises, the seminars extraterrestrial escort was able to provide an out of this world experience to cope with the world better.
"Buddy Brown is kind of my alter ego," said Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Foreman, 51st FW Protestant chaplain. "I'm up early, about four in the morning one day, and I'm thinking to myself 'what would be one of the most alien ideas to present resiliency?' Then it kind of clicked - an alien comes to Earth as a motivational speaker - and I thought, that could be funny. After that we [the chapel staff] brainstormed and came up with the ideas behind REBOUND. I believe in devine inspirations and I believe that it must have been. Something so outlandish, it had to be what this base needed."
The acronym REBOUND stands for: reframing; empathy and encouragement; build support relationships; open and clear communication; undo negative scripts and navigate reality into successes and failures; and develop holistic health.
By using different acronyms and breaking down each individual meaning and providing examples, attendees were able to apply the lessons to their lives, and determine positive ways to be resilient in relationships and in crisis.
"What we do is stressful," said Staff Sgt. Brett Rush, 51st FW chaplain assistant. "We are on duty 24/7. You think you have a set schedule, but then an exercise could kick off or a tragedy could hit and your overseas and don't know what to do. We have a lot more to deal with I think when it comes to just unexpected problems that can arise, so we need to be resilient in our lives to be able to get through it all. This seminar provided the building blocks needed to help, whether through proper communication, encouragement, or just being able to take care of yourself."
The seminar couldn't have been successful without the chapel staff, Foreman said. They were instrumental in making this new idea a reality and the logistics and planning behind everything that was done. The concept and humor had to be appealing to everyone, to all ages, and having that variation in the office helped bring Buddy and the story to life.
"I love the programs we have in the Air Force, but let's face it, after a while they sometimes become like vegetables," Foreman said with a smile. "We know they are good for us but we don't really like them. We try to come up with something fresh, but usually that takes money and time. Buddy was kind of cheap. He was refreshing to people, and I think that's really what resiliency is about -- hitting the refresh button and forcibly coming up with ways to do things newer and smarter."
Being the first to encounter the new spin on resiliency and Buddy, those in attendance served as a pilot audience for the seminar. By providing feedback, they were able to beam back inputs, ideas and suggestions to the Galactic Resiliency Federation to make future classes that much better for their fellow service members.
"I think the seminar was awesome and it didn't feel like a lecture at all," said Tech. Sgt. Yvonne Martinez, 7th Air Force logistics exercise planner. "Especially now with budget constraints and with so much expected of us to do more with less, seminars like this are very important. People should know how to cope, and the way the information was presented makes it interesting and memorable. I hope to see this seminar throughout the Air Force."
Random acts of kindness and random acts of laughter are the greatness gifts for resiliency, Foreman said.
"Don't laugh at others obviously, but laugh at yourself, laugh at circumstances."