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NYNG Comprehensive Soldier/ Airmen and Family Fitness. CH (COL) Eric Olsen JFHQ Chaplain. The Adjutant General.

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The Adjutant General

As Soldiers we know about physical fitness. But being truly fit, involves more than just physical fitness. It also involves being mentally and spiritually fit so we make good decisions as we deal with family, emotional, relationship and financial stresses that are part of life inside and outside the military. The Army has implemented Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) to address the needs of Soldiers and Families to cope successfully with the stresses of military life. This pamphlet contains the NYARNG’s CSF program which is designed to enhance our ability to deal with these stresses by developing critical thinking skills and learning how to approach life’s challenges in a positive, optimistic way. It also teaches how to recognize the signs of stress in others and what action we should take to help our fellow Soldiers. I believe this training effort will be helpful to all of you, the Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard, as you serve our state and nation. You and your family make many sacrifices as you serve, and it’s my responsibility as Adjutant General to ensure that you have all the tools, including physical and spiritual, that you need to do you those tough jobs.  Patrick A. Murphy PATRICK A. MURPHY MG, NYARNG The Adjutant General

tag expectations
TAG Expectations
  • Empowers care to the lowest level
  • States availability of quality resources to the entire Guard Family
  • Teaches and reinforces problem solving skills, resiliency and healthy behaviors
  • Demonstrates command support of Service and Family members who seek assistance when needed
the goal
The Goal

We want all Soldiers and their relationships / Families to develop their strengths and fortitude in six key fitness areas in order to thrive under challenging conditions and succeed under extreme conditions without suffering permanent disability.


NYNG Comprehensive Fitness Program

Proponent: Chaplain Eric Olsen

Purpose: Toprovide a program for Warriors, Family members and Army / Air Force Civilians to master the skills necessary to achieve balance in their lives and build resilience in order to thrive in an era of high operational tempo and persistent conflict.

  • Dimensions:
  • Relationships and Families
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Financial (NYARNG addition)
  • Features:
  • Designed for Junior Soldiers
  • Implemented by Squad Leader
  • Develops Coping & Problem Solving
  • Skills
  • Reinforces Army Expectations
  • 6 Month Cycle
  • Training Materials Provided
  • Training Outline:
  • Statement of Expectations
  • Healthy & Unhealthy Behaviors
  • Healthy & Unhealthy Scenarios
  • Thinking Traps
  • Role of the Buddy
  • Available Resources
method of instruction

Method of Training Instruction

Method of Instruction
  • Platoon sized groups led by NCO
  • Takes place every drill for 30 minutes
  • Each trainer equipped with a “quick series” style booklet training aid
  • Training aid is designed to facilitate discussion
  • Designed to be taught in multiple settings “Hip pocket”
  • No Power Point Briefing slides
method of instruction7

Outline of Training Instruction

Method of Instruction
  • Statement of Professional Character for each domain
  • Discussion of Healthy Behaviors and Unhealthy Behaviors
  • Lead Group in the Monthly Scenarios
  • Ask the Group for
    • Less adaptive behavior / Adaptive behavior / Most Likely behavior
    • ID What is in the Warrior’s Control and What is Not
  • Discuss What a Buddy could do (Buddy Aid)
  • Concludes with the Group Developing a Healthy Perspective to the scenario and share local and online resources
  • AARs and unit assessment
  • Service providers and referrals
  • Review of trends and overall Soldier behavior i.e. SIRs, Blotter reports, drug testings and AWOL numbers
  • Sensing sessions with Soldiers to determine impact and effectiveness
timeline for training
Timeline for training
  • Training materials supplied down to section/squad level (going to print soon)
  • MRTs (more need to be trained) and Chaplains train NCOs
  • Train 1,000 NCOs (Jan – June 2011)
  • Implementation CSF: July 2011
  • Individual training recorded in DTMS
cost of implementation
Cost of Implementation
  • Manpower – Master Resiliency Trainers (MRTs), Chaplains and trained NCOs
  • Material – 1 Training aid for each platoon size element
  • Money - $13,000 for Training Aids
  • Time – 30 min per drill
  • Planning Team – New York Chaplain Corps, Psychologist, Social Workers, MFLACs, Family Programs Staff, West Point Staff, NGB Staff
leader reads expectations components of spiritual fitness
Leader reads expectations, components of Spiritual Fitness:

Expectations of Warrior Professionalism

  • The National Guard expects all Soldiers and Airmen to be aware of their personal values/beliefs and to comply with their service values.
  • Professional and personal successes are achieved through discipline reflection and personal growth.
  • When there is difficulty in your life: expect to take ownership, look to your own behaviors and values, seek creative solutions, and seek guidance and support from others to achieve success.
  • Proficiency in the six of areas of CSF promotes growth and development which enhances a Warrior’s professional and personal life.  

What is Spiritual Fitness?

  • Spiritually fit Soldiers seek to engage in regular practices which bring meaning and purpose to their lives.
  • Soldiers who exhibit healthy Spiritual behavior have core values and rules to live by, live a life of integrity and are grounded in those beliefs, engages in self reflection and continuously seek experiences that allows them to realize their full potential.
  • Warriors with a strong spirit take ownership of their personal journey of exploring the power of the human spirit.
  • Warriors invest in establishing supportive relationships
method of instruction14

Outline of Training Instruction

Method of Instruction
  • Statement of Professional Character for each domain
  • Discussion of Healthy Behaviors and Unhealthy Behaviors
  • Lead Group in the Monthly Scenarios
  • Ask the Group for
    • Less adaptive behavior / Adaptive behavior / Most Likely behavior
    • ID What is in the Warrior’s Control and What is Not
  • Discuss What a Buddy could do (Buddy Aid)
  • Concludes with the Group Developing a Healthy Perspective to the scenario and share local and on line resources
the components of spiritual fitness
The Components of Spiritual Fitness
  • Soldiers are grounded in their own beliefs that lead to personal and professional success
  • Soldiers engage in those practices that strengthen their beliefs, character and values
  • Soldiers seek to strengthen their inner self to build confidence for times of conflict and stress
  • Soldiers maintain a positive attitude toward self and others
  • Soldiers reflect on their behavior and experiences to learn and promote their development in thought, word and deed to seek self improvement
  • Soldiers seek out community members that uplift them and provide support and guidance

Leader shares a psychological state and asks for the associated behavior to be given by Soldier:Healthy Spiritual BehaviorsPsychological States Soldier Behaviors

  • Feel connected and supportive
  • Feeling of strength

based on ones values and beliefs

  • Optimistic outlook

Strong network family and friends

Adaptive to situations

Plan for the future and help others

unhealthy spiritual behaviors psychological states soldier behaviors
Unhealthy Spiritual BehaviorsPsychological States Soldier Behaviors

Feeling lost


Tension from conflicting values

Fear and anxiety

Not knowing who you

are or how you feel

Easily influenced

No future plans and isolation

Hesitation to act

Poor decisions, sleep interruption, illness

Defensive, judging and striking out at those who are different

healthy spiritual fitness scenario a have a soldier read the scenario
Healthy Spiritual Fitness Scenario AHave a Soldier read the scenario:

At the last Drill, SGT Schmidt learns that he will deployed for a third time. He does not like the news because he and his wife have just had a new baby and it will be hard on the whole Family. SGT Schmidt is committed to his Military life and will deploy because he is a Soldier. He takes his wife to Strong Bonds Event to reconnect with his Family and his faith because he is committed to them and his role as husband and father. He and his wife take time to jointly work on a plan to lessen the impact of the deployment on the family and sustain each other. They insure that the family is connected with the FRG and community resources.

unhealthy spiritual fitness scenario a have a soldier read the scenario
Unhealthy Spiritual Fitness Scenario AHave a Soldier read the scenario:

PFC Owens receives a Dear John letter while he is deployed. His ex-Fiancée does not want to worry or wait for him so she wants to break off the engagement and start dating again. He wants to be friends and maybe get back together when he returns from deployment. She says “no.” Now, PFC Owens only gets out of his bunk to do his minimal duty and isn’t communicating with his Battle Buddy nor anyone else. He believes this is best because he will not be going home anyway.

scenario a the problem ask the soldiers what they perceive the problem to be
Scenario A – The ProblemAsk the Soldiers what they perceive the problem to be:

PFC Owens is angry, depressed, feeling hopeless, lonely and scared (normal response)

Soldier is keeping himself isolated while trying to deal with a significant emotional experience

Soldier is feeling lost and fragile because of his breakup and is grieving the relationship

Soldier does not see options for his future and is limited in scope

Soldier is far away from his normal secure and family surroundings

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scenario a thinking traps
Scenario A – Thinking Traps

What are the thinking traps that might be effecting PFC Owens in this situation?

He will never find another girl to love him

He is betrayed and always will be

He is not worth a good relationship

He made a mistake by being committed to the military

He is fatalistic about the deployment and that one situation automatically controls another

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Scenario A – Putting Things Into PerspectiveLeader asks what is the worst, then what is the best thing that could happen in this situation and the Soldiers list them:

  • Worst Case –Less Adaptive
    • Becomes isolated
    • Loses faith
    • Feels worthless
    • Experiences hopelessness
    • Total despair
    • Becomes self-destructive
    • Contemplates Suicide to end the pain
  • Best Case – Adaptive
    • Turns to unit buddies, family and or friends
    • Seeks help from professionals i.e. chaplain, combat stress team
    • Works to gain perspective
    • Takes positive steps to build future relationships
    • Gets happily married

Scenario A – Putting Things Into PerspectiveLeader asks what would most likely happen and what the Soldier can do to take control and responsibility for the situation:

  • Most Likely Case
    • Experiences sense of loss
    • Feels rejected and angry
    • Stays depressed for a while
    • Gets drunk or tries to
    • Talks to friend or Family member
    • Finds new girlfriend
  • What can the Soldier take ownership of?
    • Talk to close friends or Battle Buddy
    • Get out and engage with other Soldiers and the Unit
    • Resolve to start dating again
    • Take positive actions to deal with the negative emotions and pain
Scenario A – Battle Buddy AidLeader asks about responsibility of Battle Buddies and how they can assist in the situation and reviews ACE.
  • What should PFC Owens’ Battle Buddy have done?
  • What should PFC Owens’ Battle Buddy do now?
    • Take the time and talk it through with Owens
    • Engage in healthy behaviors with Owens
    • Be vigilant and keep an eye on his buddy
    • Tell Chain of Command
  • Remember ACE
    • Ask if the Soldier is considering hurting himself
    • Care enough to listen and if suicidal, stay with the Soldier
    • Escort him when appropriate to helpful resources
available resources
Available Resources

Unit Chaplain

Mental Health Professional

Unit Medical Officer

Available Resources CONUS

Local Religious or Church Groups

Meaningful Social Groups and Networks

Healthy Family

Unit Chaplain’s Office

Leader reviews available resources and reminds Soldiers that seeking them is not a sign of weakness but part of fitness

Available Resources OCONUS

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available resources26
Available Resources

Raphael Marquez, Adult MFLC, 518-925-4302, Raphael.A.Marquez@healthnet.com

Jolene Kent-Stanley, Child and Youth Behavioral MFLC, 518-538-0894 or jolene.m.kent-stanley@healthnet.com

NYNG Family Programs Office 1-877-715-7817 or www.dmna.state.ny.us/family

State Chaplain’s Office 518-461-2527


Local Available Resources

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available resources27
Available Resources

NYNG Family Programs Office 1-877-715-7817 or www.dmna.state.ny.us/family

Military OneSource toll free at 1-800-342-9647 or www.militaryonesource.com

Alicia Russo, NYS Military OneSource JFSAP Consultant, 518-265-2901 or alicia.russo@militaryonesource.com

Local Available Resources

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