AFTB helps develop confidence, important skills
By Andrew Sharbel | Staff writer | Thursday, May 29, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, if you asked Dori Harris to speak in front of a crowd, she would be overcome with anxiety and uneasiness. Today, she has the confidence to teach others to overcome their fears.
Through various exercises in a recent Army Family Team Building Train the Trainer program, she has become more comfortable speaking in front of people.
“For me, I really took it for the public speaking,” Harris said. “I hadn’t had a lot of public speaking, so, getting in front of class and nervousness was a problem, but they provided us with tips on how to present different lessons.”
Harris is an Army spouse, whose husband is stationed at Fort Riley, Kan., and is deployed to Iraq until the end of the year.
While he is deployed, Harris is living with her mother and sister in Woodbridge. When she arrived, she decided to enroll in the AFTB program because she was fairly new to being an Army wife and wanted to get to know the Army, she said.
AFTB is a 13-year-old program designed to allow members of the military community an opportunity to learn about life in the military and provides an environment catered to understanding military life.
It consists of three different level courses, covering topics ranging from ranks of the military and the military alphabet to community relations and child education.
The program is open to military spouses, Soldiers, civilians, and anyone else who has a connection to the Army.
Level I is an introduction to military life and covers military customs, acronyms and other basic information.
Level II is the personal development phase of the program. It covers topics ranging from time management to other essential personal skills.
Level III develops leadership skills for all the students.
For each course, AFTB is able to cater to the students and provide the information that will most benefit their audience.
In addition to the three courses, AFTB also provides an instructor training course to qualify students to teach the courses at any military installation.
The instructor course provides instruction on how to teach each of the three levels of the program. Topics range from public speaking and logistics to planning process and platform skills.
“It’s a great program,” Harris said. “Because I have taken all three levels, the next step was to take the instructor training,” she said.
“I feel like I owe the program something. It brought me closer to the Army community because, with my husband deployed and my living in Woodbridge, I kind of felt distanced,” she added.
“By taking the class, I felt I am still a part of military life and I met a good group of people I can connect with and work for the rest of my husband’s deployment,” she said.
Harris will teach the Level I course in June.
Rebecca Glenny, wife of Sgt. First Class George Glenny, and Marilyn Rahe, whose husband is stationed at the Pentagon, are both volunteer instructors with the program.
“We do three ‘speaking on your feet’ sessions during the instructor training,” Glenny said. “We want to get our students familiar with speaking on their feet and in front of an audience.”
According to Rahe, the goal of the program is to provide each student the necessary information to know what to do when a problem presents itself.
“We want to make sure the Family members are ready, are self-sufficient and have the knowledge to take care of themselves and their Family, while their Soldier is in the field or deployed,” Rahe said. “The Soldiers can concentrate on their jobs easier when they know their husbands or wives can deal with things at home.”
Glenny noted the value the classes hold, not only for military civilians and personnel, but also for everyday life.
“The knowledge that you gain through the IT program can be used anywhere,” she said. “In the past, we have had college students take the IT course and say it helps with presentations they need to make, and assists them in properly managing their time and projects.”