AUSA Supports Virginia National Guard Families

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The Association of the U.S. Army joined with the Virginia Army National Guard to hold a one-day, mid-deployment training session in Virginia Beach for families from the 3rd Battalion, 116th Regiment, and the 229th Military Police Company.

The event featured a resiliency training program from Project FOCUS called Families OverComing Under Stress (FOCUS). The program, aimed at couples and families with children facing adversity or traumatic stress, teaches intervention techniques to identify, manage and discuss emotions and helps them be better at handling disagreements, feel closer and have a way of family problem-solving.

Part of the aim of the training, this time tailored for military families, was to reduce stress for families at the end of deployments. “Military reunions are stressful,” said Vickie Sais, state family programs director for the Virginia Army National Guard. “The happy tears and smiles are real, but we also hear of the ‘walking on eggshells’ syndrome: the feeling of not wanting to do or say anything that will upset the balance of harmony in the household when a soldier returns. It can be exhausting for everyone.

“We appreciate the partnership developing between AUSA, the FOCUS group, and the Boys and Girls Clubs,” she said. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America provided activities for the kids while adults took part in the training. The comprehensive health and wellness program was developed by Boys and Girls Clubs in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Project FOCUS is a widely used program for military families to do what trainers call “strengthening the home base.” Training often focuses on how families can prepare for the eventual return of deployed soldiers, something that can alter routines and resulting in changing responsibilities.