U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz and the 16th Sustainment Brigade hosted more than 100 participants at a Soldier and Family Readiness Training event May 13 at the Rheinlander Community Club on Smith Barracks here.
“We want to build readiness and ultimately mitigate risk and ensure that we are providing training that directly impacts those proximal factors,” explained Heather Robinson, chief of the garrison’s Army Community Services. “We’d also like to give the audience the training they want, not the training we think they need. Our last goal is to let the community build the prioritization list for next year’s efforts.”
The participants attended three sessions with one-hour classes, taught by subject matter experts within ACS and the brigade. The classes included a variety of topics such as stress management, sponsorship, a children’s workshop, financial training, mindful breathing, employment readiness and nine other topics.
“This event is great because we have useful programs that help the community where everyone can attend these small sessions,” said Marie Deschuytter, relocation readiness program manager of ACS. “As far as sponsorship goes, moving to a new country can be overwhelming, so sponsorship is key and we want to help newcomers integrate to our community as soon as possible and let them know what resources they have available.”
The annual event was born in 2019 when senior spouses — who were active with the Family Readiness Group — listed their concerns across the garrison footprint, which created the first gathering in 2020 at the Armstrong’s Club on Vogelweh.
“Back in 2021, the Family Readiness Group was attempting to build a training on their own, and we threw our hands in the air and said we can help—we have done this. Great minds think alike!” added Robinson.
Ranging from military spouses to Soldiers, the event provided a wealth of newfound knowledge to those within the garrison footprint.
“This event has opened my eyes to the community support that I have longed for, but wasn’t shared with upon coming to Germany,” said Chai Long, whose active-duty spouse works on Baumholder. “I have received help with the management of stress with my children and it felt great to feel like I am filling my cup for my family and community.”
Specialist Alicia Gonzalez appreciated the enthusiasm and information provided. “I liked the instructors because they were energetic and have good ways of making you feel needed and important in this community.”
Closing out the six-and-a-half hour event, Catrina Smith, spouse of 21st Theater Sustainment Command Commanding General Maj. Gen. James M. Smith, encouraged the community to take advantage of services ACS provides.
“In my 24 years of being a military spouse, I have seen my Soldier face many challenges,” she said. “The most important thing that I have learned throughout this process is that family is first. Take care of home, first. Take care of you, your family and be familiar with the resources that can provide support. You want to know those resources before you or someone else needs it. It is then and only then that you can provide substantial support to others. As you know, ACS offers many services of support to our military and civilian families, so they are a great resource, so please utilize them.”