Building resiliency: A different approach
By Tech. Sgt. Raymond Lara, 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron
/ Published October 15, 2012
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- How do you build resiliency within a team? The concept is simple; it basically revolves around having the ability to "bounce back" from the everyday stresses of work and life.
One of the key elements to developing that ability is building a strong team, and the monthly Resiliency Day program in the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron is one way we try to do that.
As a supervisor stationed here for more than 10 years, I know it can sometimes be difficult to stay resilient at a base that doesn't have many recreational activities. That was until I became involved in Holloman AFB's Big Give, an innovative program created by Amanda Gallagher, 49th Force Support Squadron marketing director.
After participating for two years in this event, I've seen firsthand how making a difference goes hand-in-hand with building the strength you need to overcome any obstacle through leaning on others. For one of our Resiliency Days, we as the petroleum, oils and fuels took a little different approach, taking a page from the Big Give idea.
Our day started with a hearty physical training session, followed by a squadron briefing with guest speakers from the Airman and Family Readiness Center, then into flight discussions. Instead of the typical cookout, team-building exercise, and more briefings, our management suggested a scavenger hunt. It didn't sound too exciting, but there was going to be a small twist to it...perform a small volunteer project somewhere on base.
As teams of four went out, they had three tasks to complete: bowling a game at the bowling alley, taking an original photo at Heritage Park with an aircraft and explain why that particular aircraft was chosen, and accomplishing a project of their choosing, all within a two-hour window. Although the tasks seemed simple, bonus points would be added if teams could get photos with Airmen in the ranks between E-1 and O-4.
The first two tasks were completed pretty easily and quickly, which left a little more than an hour to volunteer somewhere. One team went to the Exchange to help customers with their packages and to help break down and clean up for a local food vendor outside. They also moved over to the A&FRC to help set up eight computers that will assist those ready to separate or retire.
Another team went to the base chapel to see what they could help with, and they were quickly put to work cleaning light fixtures, vacuuming, mopping, and hanging up a display for brochures. One of the biggest impacts came from a team who went to Holloman Middle School and jumped right into a physical education class and helped teach children kickball. They also made a few new friends by playing for a little while. But they went a step further and helped teach a lesson plan to another class.
As each team completed their project, phone calls started to come in to our flight where I heard from the principal at the school and a chaplain saying how great it was to see our POL folks out there, and how grateful they were.
The day turned into a success for us, and we still had an ice cream social to go to at the end of the day. Although the day was meant to help us learn how to "bounce back," we became a stronger team by taking one afternoon to "give back."
So, how do you build resiliency within a team? Everyone does it differently, but thinking outside the box can take you a long way. On that afternoon, we found new Wingmen, became stronger together, and helped others. We learned how to build resiliency. And when is it needed? Resiliency is something that is constant and needs to be strengthened, and the motto of the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron embodies that idea ..."Anytime, Anyplace."
As I watched that day come to a close, I noticed the team becoming stronger, the ice cream tasting that much better, the smiles a little wider, and the "Who Tha Hell ... POL" chant a little louder. This resiliency day was a good one, and now maybe we have become a little more resilient. It was clear that by using a different approach, we became a stronger team. And in the end, it is a team that makes us resilient as Airmen, but more importantly, as human beings.