Spouse Symposium forges resilient families
By 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 14, 2019
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The 354th Fighter Wing hosted its first-ever Spouse Symposium, gathering more than 100 spouses from across the base Feb. 13-14, 2019.
The event aimed to provide military spouses tailored resiliency training through two days of interactive discussions, guest speakers, and activities designed to encourage attendees to connect with each other and build support networks in order to cope with the challenges of military life.
“Our spouses play a huge role in our Airmen’s readiness,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Swearingen, 354th Communications Squadron first sergeant and Spouse Symposium project officer. “We do a great job teaching our active duty folks all the resiliency tools, but we fail to give it to our spouses. One of the things we’re trying to do with this symposium is bridge that gap.”
The symposium offered insights and tools for all attendees, whether they were new to military life or had years of experience as a military spouse. The event included remarks from Kristen Christy, 2018 U.S. Air Force Spouse of the Year and suicide prevention advocate, as well as Christy George and April Golden, master resiliency trainers from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, who co-created a first-of-its-kind military spouse resiliency training program.
“The goal of the resiliency program is to transform yourself from that fixed mindset that you’re finished learning to a growth mindset, and understanding that everyone has faced adversity in their life and has powered through it,” said George, who is also a former Military Spouse of the Year honoree. “I’m excited to bring resiliency to spouses because if I had some of this information 28 years ago, my career as a spouse would’ve taken a whole different trajectory. I think I would have been better prepared for challenges like deployments and long temporary duty assignments.”
Ryan said response to the inaugural event was positive and the wing hopes to hold the event twice per year; once in the summer and once in the winter.
For more information on resiliency resources available to military members and their families, visit www.resilience.af.mil.