By LYNSIE DICKERSON
Gold Standard Staff Writer
For someone on the outside looking in, the military may seem like a world of its own. The military has its own customs, courtesies and culture. The Army Family Team Building program provides classes to better acquaint newcomers to Army life, as well as teach valuable skills that can be used in personal and professional settings.
AFTB began in 1992 with the idea that Family members should be educated about military life. On Dec. 16, 1994, Gen. Gordon Sullivan, the Army chief of staff, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Richard Kidd signed a letter that declared AFTB an official Army program.
The course, which is taught by volunteers, is a series of 30 classes divided into three levels: Level K—Army Knowledge—which teaches basic Army information like customs and courtesies; Level G—Personal Growth and Resiliency—which teaches leadership and personal development skills; and Level L—Leadership Development—which teaches advanced leadership skills and professional development.
“The classes are engaging,” said Lori Stinson, AFTB volunteer program manager, who has been involved with AFTB since taking the classes while stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. “The classes are not ‘come, sit down, regurgitate material, here’s your slide;’ it’s engaging, so we have ice breakers and we have questions and we have little games and things like that that help engage the adult learner.”
The course is offered online, “but you really do miss out on that networking (and) connections” when not in the classroom, Stinson said, “especially to younger spouses who can tend to kind of close up and not really get out into the community because it could be challenging, they get to gain some new friendships, and feel connected, which is really the benefit of being a part of the military.”
Stinson said that those in charge of the Fort Knox AFTB course want to continue offering in-person versions of the class; however, to keep those classes going, at least five people must sign up to take the in-person class and volunteers are needed to teach the class and complete other various administrative tasks.
“The program is really kind of in transition,” Stinson said. “What we’re noticing is with the drawdown of troops, units getting ready to leave, deployments, things like that, our numbers are dwindling as far as volunteers coming in, volunteers training, instructing, you know, helping with marketing, just the normal day-to-day activities.”
Not only do students of the class learn more about military life, but the skills learned—like professional development and adapting to a changing environment—can carry over to students’ professional lives, Stinson said.
“We’re really trying to continue AFTB and getting the word out,” Stinson said. “The program hasn’t changed; we’re still here. It’s so valuable, even when your spouse is deployed or coming back, and it’s beyond the military life, it really helps you personally.”
A Level K class will be held Nov. 4 and 5 in Bldg. 1477.
Those seeking more information about the program or wanting to register can call (502) 624-6291.