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Spouse Symposium forges resilient families

During the symposium, spouses were taught how to face the adversities that come with being a military spouse.

Mary Lou Borden, a military spouse, shares her strengths during the first-ever Spouse Symposium at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 13, 2019. During the symposium, spouses were taught how to face the adversities that come with being a military spouse. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

The purpose of the event was to provide military spouses the same resiliency tools military members receive.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan M. Swearingen, 354th Communications Squadron first sergeant and Spouse Symposium project officer, thanks all those who supported the event during the first-ever Spouse Symposium at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska Feb. 13, 2019. The purpose of the event was to provide military spouses the same resiliency tools military members receive. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

The purpose of the event was to provide military spouses the same resiliency tools military members receive.

Spouses write down their strengths during the first-ever Spouse Symposium at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 13, 2019. During the event, April Golden, a master resiliency trainer, spoke on how connecting with community is a key to resiliency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

The purpose of the event was to provide military spouses the same resiliency tools military members receive.

Joyce Hurt, a 354th Fighter Wing spouse, takes a group selfie during the first-ever Spouse Symposium at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 13, 2019. Eielson’s Spouse Symposium was the first stop of many for the master resiliency trainers who served as guest speakers for the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

The purpose of the event was to provide military spouses the same resiliency tools military members receive.

Christy George, a master resiliency trainer, shares her thoughts on resiliency during the first-ever Spouse Symposium at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 13, 2019. Approximately 120 spouses participated in the event targeted at strengthening resilience.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

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.