A new program at Fort Carson is designed to help military Families take advantage of the numerous on- and off-post resources so they can stay active and thrive during deployments instead of simply survive them.
More than 1,000 Fort Carson community members attended the first T.H.R.I.V.E. program event at the Special Events Center Sept. 30 that showcased more than 60 area agencies that provide services or activities at minimal or no cost, or provide discounts for military Families. All agencies offer something that falls under at least one of the T.H.R.I.V.E. principles – Training, Health, Resilience, Improving quality of life, Volunteer and Education.
“We know people are going to be deployed and there’s nothing we can do about that. What we want to do is encourage Families, both the spouses and the children, to spend their time in a positive way, toward some productive end,” said Col. Todd A. Heussner, 4th Infantry Division rear detachment commander.
Heussner said the idea is to expose the Families to the resources and encourage them to take advantage of them.
“I want to see some people succeed. I want to see Families get better and stronger,” he said. “I don’t want deployed Soldiers to come back and have a spouse say, ‘Phew, I’m tired … here you go.’ I want them to say look what we did while you were gone.”
He said the T.H.R.I.V.E. program concept originally focused on Families of deployed Soldiers, but has been expanded to include all Families. Noting Fort Carson has Families in all phases of the deployment cycle, Heussner said the program will be held every six months.
The program is designed to help Families establish goals and then find the resources to help them meet those goals. Heussner noted this is only the beginning of the process; every quarter the spouses will be brought back together at the brigade or battalion level, to track their progress.
“It’s not a one-shot deal where we had this (T.H.R.I.V.E. program) and now forget about it,” he said. “We want to help them set the goals and then help them manage because you get tired, you get beat down, sometimes you lose your way, and (you) need a little bit of encouragement.”
By bringing the spouses together, Heussner said, success will breed success and that energy will build some momentum and people will continue to move forward.
“At the end of the year, we’ve invested our time, we didn’t just spend it or waste the time, we invested it towards a goal,” he said. “The Soldiers are going to come back stronger and better and faster … so why should the Families sit back here and be static?”
Mac Kemp, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said his staff’s goal was to provide spouses with a variety of programs available both on and off post and activities for the children to enjoy.
“What we’ve done here today is try to provide things that can be done at little or no cost … that are stimulating and good use of your time,” he said.
While spouses were gathering information and setting up their goals, the Child, Youth and School Services staff and volunteers were entertaining children with games, craft activities and a bounce house.
“I think it’s really nice,” Family member Erin Ross said. “We’ve never been to anything like this. It’s nice to have all these different (services) that are on post, and even off post, all in one area.
“I think the best part is they made it kid-friendly. It’s nice to be able to come and see all of this and not have to worry about the kids running around or having to get a babysitter,” she said.
Heussner said Fort Carson officials plan to capture the lessons learned from the T.H.R.I.V.E. program and package it into a program that can be exported to the rest of the Army.