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Resilience Skills Toolkit released in wake of community need

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The Air Force Personnel Center collaborated with various agencies and organizations to develop the Resilience Skills Toolkit: a single location for numerous resources and materials. This toolkit allows its users to confront the challenges previously identified through resilience training: difficulty remembering skills, trainings conducted as briefings and not engaging participants. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Alex Stevenson)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --

Resilience - it's a fundamental component to Comprehensive Airman Fitness. According to a 2018 directive, it's been noted that resilience training was not retained by those who attended.

This directive was established to focus on the need for more tools to reinforce resilience throughout the community, group discussion modules and training tailored to specific groups.

As a solution, the Air Force Personnel Center developed a Resilience Skills Toolkit in collaboration with the AFPC Resilience Operations, Air Force Chaplain Corps, Air Force Health Promotion, Air University, Community Support Program managers and TechWerks - a resilience contractor at the time.

The RST is designed to reinforce Air Force resilience skills to increase unit connection and engagement by using positive psychology as a foundation.

It allows its users and trainers to confront the challenges previously identified through resilience training: difficulty remembering skills, trainings conducted as briefings and not engaging.

"This toolkit, collectively, places support material in one place for active-duty Airmen and their leaders to use," said Lori Muzzana, 341st Missile Wing community support coordinator.

Throughout the toolkit are materials and resources that allow Airmen at all levels to facilitate small group discussions as needed.

What's in the toolkit?
The toolkit has 12 sections addressing feedback from 2018 focus groups, community support coordinators, master resiliency trainers, and 2,000 students who completed resilience skills training at the installation level to include the following:

• Foundational and targeted military life cycle training packages.
• Spouse-tailored resilience skill lessons and resources. These are discussion-based, interactive, mirror Air Force resilience skills to reinforce application at home.
• Why resilience matters and the evidence behind it.
• Resilience video library. This is a collection of video series that reinforce, complement and provide context to resilience skills.
• Commander tools which provides pre/postvention and intervention resources.
• MRTs beyond the classroom, providing various ways MRTs support the military community beyond classroom training.
• Teen and youth-tailored resilience resources. These resources, aimed toward 10-15 year olds, are fast-paced, interactive lessons designed to boost skill set and the ability to adapt.
• Resilience Quick Grips, a small group discussion that initiates meaningful discussions in the workplace.
• Chaplain Connect - a spiritual resilience video library developed by Air Force Chaplain Corps - target topics such as purpose, connection, resilience, loneliness, innovation and more.
• Marketing materials and guidance. This section has positive action messaging material tailored for various platforms, such as print marketing, social media, and integration into existing platforms and forums.
• Virtual tutorial trainers which enhance facilitation skills of Resilience Trainers and small group discussion leaders.
• 15-30 minute sessions providing the ideal training strategy, given limited time.

Two training and educational webinars accompany the toolkit release: an RST video intended for training personnel and the evidence behind resilience, to better understand how and why resilience skills increase well-being.

Feedback proves potential
As proof of its success, the RST ran through focus groups and small discussions. Participants rated it overall a 4.4 out of 5, with one being very poor and five being very good.

The feedback indicated participants felt they increased connection (rated 4.4) and allowed for meaningful discussion (rated 4.7).

"I hope that when our Airmen or leaders think about support needed or, 'where do I go', or 'what can I do?', they can consider this toolkit for options," said Muzzana.

"[Resilience] is the difference between staying down or getting back up when life gets tough," she added. "We all have that capability, but without resilience tools, it can become a struggle that some cannot shake loose from."

These new resilience operations will release to their respective personnel via U.S. Strategic Command and functional community.