Equipping USAR Unit Ministry Teams to empower, inspire, nurture and develop Soldiers and Families who are strong and ready in Spirit!
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CHANGING THE CULTURE OF THE ARMY RESERVE
LTG Jody Daniels published a paper that outlines her vision for a culture of true readiness! (hint: it is not an all-green metric chart) Please take time to read this paper, the themes of this paper should be seen throughout your command and referenced with your leaders. Stay on the cutting edge! Note: General Daniels references Spiritual Fitness on page four.
CHANGING CULTURE: Moving from Metrics to Readiness by LTG Daniels, Commanding General United States Army Reserve and the Chief of the Army Reserve
WHAT DO CHAPLAINS DO?
The below tri-fold on the mission of UMTs may prove a useful tool as you introduce yourself to throughout your organization, in particular the Command Teams. There is space for you to add your UMT contact information on the back.
BUILDING STRONG AND READY TEAMS (BSRT) IN THE USAR
1) As of 01 OCT 2022 the legacy Strong Bonds program will be replaced by "Building Strong and Ready Teams." (IAW HQDA EXORD 135-22 ISO US Army Chaplain Corps Strong Bonds Transformation) See below for material to help advertise and explain the change in program.
2) BSRT will continue to be a Command directed, Chaplain led program that builds and maintains healthy Soldier and Family structure. However, BSRT will differ from the legacy Strong Bonds Program by (1) broadening the program scope for holistic wellness, (2) increasing cost efficiency, and (3) training a greater percentage of end strength.
3) The BSRT Objectives are:
§Strengthen Soldier and Family structure through evidence-based relationship training.
§Improve quality of life by providing skills necessary to endure adversity.
§Build spiritual readiness, ethical and moral strength for better decision making, leading to healthy behavioral outcomes.
§Enrich Spiritual Character to develop self-value and identity.
§Ensure the free exercise of religion for all Soldiers and Families.
4) The increased scope allows for greater creativity and innovation, providing tailored training based on the unit's needs. Based on your assessment of the Spiritual Fitness of your unit, you and your command may want to focus your training in areas beyond “relationships.” If you would like to present an alternate training, submit your plan to the Command Chaplain for approval. An example of an approval memo can be found here. If the Command Chaplain approves, you will be able to bring your tailored, relevant training to your unit. See below for some Training Support Packages that have been used in other units. Remember, you must get your Command Chaplains approval!
5) The US Army Reserve FY23 Double Eagle OPORD contains the BSRT Annex (K-003) and associated appendices. Those documents can be obtained through unit channels (S3, Command, and Command Chaplain’s Office) requested through your Military Email, or accessed through this website from an AR Net computer: USARC FY23 BASEORD.
6) If you are on Facebook, you can follow the USARC Chaplain Directorate Page for updates and good news about BSRT! if you are an MSC Program Manager, there is an MS Teams Channel set up for you. If you would like to request access, email CH Emery.
7) Building Strong and Ready Teams Story Boards and EXSUMs: Let us hear about all the good work you are doing! When you complete an event, develop a Story Board or write up an EXSUM. Review the below Story Boards/EXSUMs for ideas about what you can do in your unit. If you have questions, be bold and reach out to the POC from the Story Board and learn from their experiences!
8) If you are a TPU Chaplain please contact your MSC BSRT Program Manager who can guide you you in how to execute events.
BUILDING SPIRITUAL FITNESS
Training presentations on spirituality that can be presented in your command.
A LIFE WORTH LIVING
The Army is taking a proactive approach to reduce the increase in harmful behaviors. The A Life Worth Living / Value of Life initiative is a mindset and cultural shift in preventing harmful behaviors; integrating Army values into a positive approach to prevention. It emphasizes teamwork and the value of each individual to another. The focus is on "life" and having a life that is worth living rather than simply preventing death and other harmful behaviors to life. We want to keep people from getting to that edge of choosing between life or death. Enhanced religiosity and spirituality are protective factors for individuals grappling with crisis, can enable post traumatic growth, and help build a live worth living.
As Chaplains you have a unique voice, education, and insight into the existential questions that the Value of Life seeks to address. Most of you have spent significant years reflecting on the value and meaning of life. This is an opportunity to help and facilitate Soldiers on their spiritual journey, not prescribe the journey they “should” be on.
- “What does it mean to live a good life?”
- “What happens when I don’t or can’t live a good life?”
- “Is there a purpose to suffering?”
- “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
- "What do I want my obituiary to say about me?"
Below is an easy to read report on moving from a response to prevention model for violence (interpersonal violence or self harm). Please take time to read this in light of what you do as a Chaplain! You will be encouraged and inspired!
Presentation: A Life Worth Living (Training Support Package) Can be used as a BSRT Curriculum, focuses on small group facilitated discussion (6-8 pax). This is a comp[rehensive program that can be done over the course of a training year, during AT, and is flexible in terms of time.
HOLISTIC HEALTH AND FITNESS
The five domains (areas of readiness) of Holistic Health and Fitness are: Physical, Nutitional, Mental, Spirituality, and Sleep (FM 7-22). As a Chaplain, and member of the UMT, you are the subject matter expert for the spirituality domain! One way to strengthen H2F is to integrate spirituality with the other domains. For example, MAY is Mental Health awareness month, it is an ideal time to highlight the connection of spirituality with good mental health. Below are two great guides from the Christian (ecumenical) tradition that can serve as a Bible Study book, help develop training or assist in sermon development.
As many of you know Financial Problems continue to plague the Soldiers and Families of the Army Reserve. Financial issues are a great source of stress, often are a contributing factor in suicidal ideations, and seriously impact readiness and wear down resilliency. As a facilitator for Soldier care below are resources you can provide to Soldiers who are struggling financially. Help is available, all you need to do is point Soldiers and Families in the right direction. You can also serve as an advisor to your commander. If you begin to see trends in your counseling and unit circulation that finances are an issue, encourage your Commander to host Financial Literacy training at some point during the year. Certified trainers are available and can come to the unit to support.
CAREGIVING FOR USAR SOLDIERS
Suicide is a very complex subject there is no one thing, answer, person, PowerPoint slide, sermon etc. that will solve this issue. When working with at-risk Soldiers, remember you are part of a professional community. You can refer Soldiers for specialty care, and to other helping professionals. Your colleagues in the chaplain corps can also be a resource and encouragement for you. You are NOT alone! Below are some resources designed to assist you in supporting Soldiers who may be at risk. It is also a good practice to have your local community resources at hand (local hospitals, mental health clinics, VA etc.) You may want to distribute the "Referrals, Support Agencies, Caregiving Resources" to squad leaders as you regularly connect with this critical leadership level.
You are part of a team that can set conditions that promote a healthy environment and discourages suicide. Take a moment and flip through the handbook below. You may want to do a "Control F" search for Chaplain. This will clarify what the Commander should be able to expect from you as part of their unit's interdisciplinary prevention and care team.
Mental Health issues regularly rank in the top three factors of completed suicides in the USAR. One of our best partners in referring USAR Soldiers, especially TPU Soldiers, is the Psychological Health Program (PHP). The PHP can be part of your cross-disciplinary, support team! Please take some time to review the brochure and slides below. The last two slides are a collection of resources that you can distribute throughout your formation.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY
Please note the below is not endorsed nor funded by the US Army Reserve.
Wesley Theological Seminary Doctor of Ministry (Military Chaplains Track): Wesley’s Doctor of Ministry program for chaplains was developed following the events of 9/11 as the seminary committed to serving U.S. military chaplains in new and deeper ways. It’s a rigorous program of graduate-level courses, and it helps chaplains go deeper and broader intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, and in their leadership skills. To aid chaplains in their pursuit of educational and theological development, the seminary also committed to providing 100 percent tuition scholarships for all military chaplains.
Each year, Wesley Theological Seminary accepts 24 military chaplains into their program and covers the full cost of their tuition (equivalent to $22,000.00). The student only covers their fees, books, and costs associated with the two in-person courses required in the program track. Also, at the discretion of the registrar's office, transfer credit for military schooling (such as C4) can be awarded for up to 6 credit hours. For more information, use the link below:
Military Support Retreats/GratitudeAmerica FALL 2024
Strengthen and restore connections, enjoy the natural beauty of each location,
be inspired by fun outdoor activities, learn about available support resources,
and relax while exploring the stress coping concepts of Post Traumatic Growth. See Flyer Here.