New teen bounce workshop

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

The atmosphere of a classroom in the Grand Forks Air Force Base youth center was buzzing with energy and excitement March 16 and 17, 2017 from a group of children participating in the new two-day Teen Bounce workshop.

The Teen Bounce workshop teaches children and teenagers what resiliency is, and how to apply it to their lives.

“It’s really fun,” said Gwen Rock, one of the workshop participants. “Everybody’s really nice and we do a lot of activities.”

Gwen is one of 11 children who were the first to be involved in the program taught by volunteers, some of which were originally instructors at Airman Leadership School.

One of the volunteers and lead master resiliency trainer, Master Sgt. Tiffany Kuczkowski, explained how the curriculum for the workshop is adopted from the U.S. Army, which teaches how social, mental, physical and spiritual health are each important to resilience.

“The way I think of resiliency in the end is that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it,” Kuczkowski said.

Kuczkowski remembered how resilience played a huge factor in the life of a Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. She mentioned how the veteran was able to use the skills he learned from resiliency training in order to overcome the disorder.

“I just thought, ‘wow they really work,’” Kuczkowski said with a wide grin.

She continued to excitedly talk about the positive direction she saw the workshop, pointing out she found it important to teach children to be able to deal with certain stressors they may face in school or as part of a military family.

“They’re gonna learn how to use their strengths, and how they all bring different strengths to the team or to their personal lives,” she said.

According to Kuczkowski, the two-day course consists of a few 45-minute lessons, followed by 15 minutes of break time to allow the children to exert their energy and maintain focus when in the classroom. She said the program includes as many activities into the lessons as possible, to encourage teamwork and participation.

“I don’t like death by power point,” Kuczkowski explained. “What I liked about this course is its group and class activities. I love watching the kids take the activities and run with them. When the lightbulbs go off, that makes me smile.”

She mentioned how hopeful she is for the workhsop’s future, and how the course is projected to continue throughout the year with the possible addition of physical activities in the warmer months.