• Ready, Resilient Teens program ramping up

  • CYS receives a $10,000 Kickstarter grant for the Ready and Resilient Teens program.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Four teens participated in a “Ready and Resilient” workshop to kick-off the Ready and Resilient Teens program June 21 at Harrold Youth Center.
    During the workshop, the first of three for the summer, the teens and workshop facilitators, Amanda Buckingham, school liaison officer, and Christy Allie, HYC assistant director, discussed the hunting-the-good-stuff concept, effective praise and active constructive responding.
    “Our main focus of all of our training workshops is for our youth to self-reflect to see how they build relationships, how they interact with others, how it affects them and those they interact with,” Buckingham said.
    “Part of our initiative is not only to incorporate the resiliency into the youth programming but also with our staff that work with youth,” she said.
    The Ready and Resilient Teens program, part of the Army’s Ready and Resilient campaign, started when CYS was awarded a $10,000 Kickstarter grant by Army CYS, intended to mirror the Master Resiliency Training service members and spouses have been receiving since 2008.
    “There was a lot of transitions, a lot of deployments, and they realized that (service members) needed to not just be physically strong but mentally strong and it’s evolved from there,” Buckingham said. “They realized it’s not just the service member that goes through changes and might need to learn these skills but the families as well.”
    To prepare for the program, Buckingham and Allie attended two weeks of training in February in San Antonio where they received the same information service members received and became certified Master Resiliency Trainers.
    “The difference for us in our training is we actually had to test out how we are going to do this in a workshop setting,” Buckingham said.
    The service member training has a slideshow format with worksheets to go through the information, Buckingham said. In comparison, the youth program is a one-hour workshop consisting of visuals and interactive participation through activities for experiential learning to be applied later in a real scenario.
    “I think that our youth really need the support,” Allie said. “In the environment that we’re in, we’re seeing more bullying with the social media and everything that kids are hit with. They just need some skills to be able to stay strong.
    “Most of our military kids are very strong. The family units are really tight and the families support each other very well, but if your dad explains to you ‘This is what I learned in Master Resiliency Training,’ you’re probably not going to take it as well,” Allie said. “We’ve got just a little bit different approach when it comes to sharing that information with them.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Allie said she hopes to see participants using the skills in their everyday interactions.
    “My vision would be that some of our youth leaders that are participating in these very early classes, that we see them actually reaching out to the kids that are in here and using the skills … when they’re at school,” Allie said.
    “One of the things that threads through all of it is what they call ‘hunt the good stuff,’” she said. “If they walk through the door and it’s ‘my life is horrible,’ it’s making them realize you’ve got some good stuff happening.”
    Buckingham said she hopes the program will create a connection at home.
    “It’s not just that these skills are being applied by the youth but it’s how are they making that connection with their families that have had this same training or how has it changed something in their life?” she said. “The common language is now going to be provided to them so that there can be that communication between parents and their children.”
    Allie agreed.
    “We’re hoping that the kids go home and say, ‘Guess what we talked about?’” she said. “They can open the conversation up.”
    The second workshop is at 4 p.m. July 12 at HYC, followed by a family softball game at 5 p.m. The topic will be assertive communication, which will focus on the Initiating, Diagnosing, Establishing, Acting and Learning Model.
    The third workshop is at 4 p.m. July 19 at HYC, followed by family black-light dodgeball at 5 p.m. The topic will be identifying character strengths in self and others.
    All youth in sixth- through 12th-grade who are registered with CYS can participate in the workshops. Each session will be offered a second time and new workshops will continue through the schoolyear once a month. Dates and times are to be determined. Buckingham said the program will eventually extend to the homeschool community and schools in the Leavenworth community.
    “The goal is to slowly grow,” she said.
    Students who attend two out of the three sessions will have the opportunity to attend an experiential learning canoe trip July 23-26 to the Niangua River in Missouri. Cost is $50 to attend.
    “The goal is to have those experiential learnings and that’s one of the purposes behind the Kickstarter grant is to allow us to provide more of those activities to solidify the skills that they have learned,” Buckingham said.
    For more information, call Buckingham at 684-1655 or Allie at 684-5118.
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