By KATHLEEN BROUGH
School Services Specialist, 84th TC
Army Reserve Family Programs and Army Reserve Child, Youth and School Services staff collaborated with teen representatives Aug. 7 to provide a youth programs briefing to 84th Training Commander Maj. Gen. David Puster. Puster, whose command is based at Fort Knox, was provided a slide presentation from the ARTP representative, Taeisha Wynder, and the teen council representative, Abby Smallwood, to aid in the discussion points.
Each youth was mentored four hours by the CYSS staff to create the PowerPoint slides and practice oration of the program highlights. It was part of the School Services Specialist Strategy to have the youth create the slides in their own words, develop speaking notes for specific examples and to practice delivery of the information in a dialogue and formal presentation format to provide flexibility and ease no matter how the general conducted the meeting.
“I am highly encouraged by the intelligence and character of our 84th Training Command youth as I work with the teen council to better understand their challenges when our Soldiers are deployed,” said Puster. “Family Programs is doing a wonderful job of bridging communications to our youth through these youth programs.”
Wynder also demonstrated her communication skills to Smallwood. Being that she took a public speaking class, Wynder lent her expertise to Smallwood.
“This is so hard for me,” Smallwood said. “Can’t I tell a joke or something?”
Wynder provided Smallwood some feedback about posture, fidgeting and more importantly, relaxation techniques.
CYSS staff let her know that al- though formal meetings can be hard, that by being outside of her comfort zone she would grow as a person.
“Both girls exceeded expectations,” said the command’s Family Programs director, Kimberly Franklin, to her youth and CYSS team.
The meeting lasted for more than an hour. Puster asked many questions about the teen leadership trainings at Youth Leadership Education Development and ARTP, upcoming teen council events and especially social media.
At one point, Smallwood and Puster discussed the many functions of Facebook and how to use it in conjunction with other social media such as Instagram or Twitter as part of youth outreach programming.
In preparation for the command’s National Teen Council Meeting in March, youth will utilize the chain of communication to advise their ARTP and Puster about their needs to access effective communication software.
Wynder was poised and knowledgeable in her delivery of the teen issues concerning nationwide discrimination of benefits against Army Reserve Families and advancing support programs for Army Reserve Families during long term mobilizations. She was able to convey her personal experience about these issues as well as that of other teens she works within the teen panel; hitting home that these are issues that not only effect teens, but effect the whole Family.
“The issues presented by the 84th Teen Panel Representative are relevant to the work I am doing on the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee,” said Puster. “I will recommend that we add their issues to future ARFPC agendas for further exploration and that we make policy proposals to the Secretary of the Army for his consideration.”