By Alethea Smock
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — REBOUND training for resiliency is a newly developed series of courses available to Airmen here.
The course covers topics such as open communication, conflict resolution, and undoing negative thoughts in a fun, open environment. The class is open to all employees and spouses who want to learn new ways to combat negative thoughts.
“The REBOUND training is centered in joy,” said Chap. (Maj.) Daniel Forman, course creator and 21st Space Wing chaplain. “We give genuine tools to help Airmen reframe their thoughts in a positive way. We are all impacted by change, RIFs and death. The use of humor to help people learn the skills to cope is intentional.”
The series consists of seven courses covering different skills needed to become more resilient in life and relationships. The topics are reframing; empathy and encouragement; build supporting relationships; open and clear communication, undo negative scripts; navigate reality into successes and failures; and develop holistic health — spelling out the acronym REBOUND.
REBOUND is offered in three different formats to accommodate mission needs. These include a two-minute per module briefing designed for a commanders call, an hour long briefing for a Wingman day, or a full day retreat to fully engage in resiliency training. The full-day retreat gives participants a chance to become fully familiar with the topic, practice newly acquired skills, and also take part in a group activity.
Over 900 hours went into developing the course to bring it where it is today. The use of the character “Buddy” was the first step in bringing a comprehensive course like this to fruition.
“It all started when I put together just an introduction to the training using Buddy,” said Forman. “Everyone giggled and enjoyed the intro so much I began putting together the courses using Buddy as way to grab people’s attention long enough so they could hear the message.”
The first training took place at Osan Air Base in June 2013 and received enthusiastic feedback. Since then many organizations have completed some form of the training and provided course and content critiques. The suggestions from each class are incorporated, where possible, to continually improve the course moving forward.
To introduce the program to Team Pete, and gauge overall interest, the chapel offered a full-day retreat for interested groups.
A group of 30 Airmen and civilians participated in the course held at Glen Eyrie March 28. They didn’t know what to expect from a military-sponsored training session held at an off-base location where civilian clothes are mandatory.
As the group took their seats, Buddy popped up on the screen to greet the attendees and introduce the topic of resiliency. Using a good dose of humor and clips from TV sitcoms, Buddy outlined the goals of open communication and conflict resolution that are central to REBOUND training. Even the most reluctant participants soon found themselves smiling and responding to Buddy’s goofy mannerisms.
“The use of a goofy character like Buddy is intentional,” said Forman. “Buddy gives us a reason to giggle and brings positive energy to a topic that can be difficult to discuss.”
Attendees familiarized themselves with resiliency coping skills during the morning session. The coping skills were then put to use during the afternoon ropes course. Everyone was encouraged to participate and use their new communication and conflict resolution skills while working with a partner on a simulated rock wall 15 feet above the ground.
“I generally prefer to work alone, but the ropes course challenged me to work on my teamwork skills,” said Dana Klein, workshop participant. “I faced my fear and overcame the challenge of being on a tightrope. Overall, it was a great experience.”
While the focus of the day was on resiliency, participants took away much more than just a morning of briefings and discussion — they were reminded of the importance of laughing.
“The greatest part of suffering is forgetting to laugh,” said Forman. “The best part of resiliency is remembering how to laugh. Life is serious, but laughter helps us through it. My hope for this course is that people learn to take life in stride and to experience joy more often.”
If your organization would like to participate in REBOUND training, call the chapel at 556-4442 for information.