Seniors learn resilience, positive outlook on life
CAMP ZAMA, Japan - Forty-six Zama American High School seniors graduated from the Resiliency Training Program April 28 at the Camp Zama Youth Center.
Maj. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, commanding general of U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward), said the training provided by U.S. Army master resilience trainers was tailored just for high school seniors.
The intent of the program was to provide students with resilient skills that will help them for the rest of their lives, said Pasquarette.
"Resiliency means the ability to bounce back," he said.
"As young people that are about to leave their parents... go off to greater things...they have their whole lives in front of them, but perhaps they don't have the resilience to deal with a curve ball in life."
The four-day program focused on teaching the students how to adapt and sustain life's obstacles such as "college and whatever else that is coming their way," said Pasquarette.
"Life is hard, and it's harder when you're not resilient.
"When something happens that you're not expecting, your ability to deal with that yourself; bounce back; and learn from it, makes you a better person."
This training, in its infancy, is planned to be held in the following consecutive school years.
The students also learned about goal setting.
"It's a skill I think is important for young people as they are starting to leave the nest and move on to live outside their parents' control," said Pasquarette.
"For young people, it allows them to establish a goal, manage their time in a positive manner to try and obtain that goal."
Staff Sgt. Clarence Nelson, master resilience trainer assigned to U.S. Army Japan G3, said the goal setting phase of the program gave the students an overall idea of how to set goals, and what things they need to learn, such as planning, processing and making sure they succeed in attaining their goals.
Nelson said the most important thing in goal setting is to make sure there is a plan and to adhere to that plan.
"You don't let adversity stop you from obtaining your goals," he said.
Capt. Zina Roberts, master resilience trainer assigned to U.S. Army Medial Activity Japan, said the overall training consisted of the following classes: Hunt the Good Stuff; Real-time Resiliency; Activating Events; Thoughts and Consequences; and Energy Management.
Roberts said it is most important for the students learn how to use the resiliency skills to meet their goals in life.
For instance, say they are having a meltdown... they can go back to "Energy Management," and do some deliberate breathing," said Roberts, referring to a resiliency technique taught during the program.
"They can calm themselves down and use that energy in a smart way," she said.
Throughout the week, Roberts said she noticed the students learned to focus themselves, using techniques from "Hunt for the Good Stuff."
Josiah King, ZAHS senior, said hunt for the good stuff training taught him how to find the positive in every negative situation.
"If you're having a bad day, look for one good thing, and that can change your whole view on your day," he said.
Robert Chance, school liaison officer at Children, Youth and School Services, said this program helps a lot of students learn how to deal with situations when they come.
"It's not the end of the world if you don't get something done," said Chance. "It's always going to be a new day to start over."
Another ZAHS senior, Zhandra Graham, said she gained a different aspect and that` "we live our lives" and not everything is "black and white."
"There are some times when we experience 'gray areas' in our life," said Graham, "where we have to access ourselves differently than what we would do in regular saturations."
The course was really focused on staying positive, said Graham.
"A lot of times, I will focus on the bad things that happen... and not access the good things that happen. This training taught me to not always thing pessimistically, but to think more positive - to be happy and healthy," she said.
After the students received their graduation certificates, they presented Pasquarette with a memento.
We presented him with a picture of all of us together - 'Team Forward' - to remember us... and see what we did," said King.