CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Several hundred deployed service members attended the Third Annual Resiliency Expo at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Jan. 11. The expo, built upon the principles of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, offered resources to help service members find balance within their social, emotional, spiritual, physical and family lives.
To that aim, the 3rd Medical Command, in coordination with different military units and civilian agencies, assembled more than 40 booths for service members to explore. Housed in the Zone I Fitness Center, the booths varied in topic from fire safety to meditation services or blood pressure screening to motorcycle safety. Additionally, a skit to promote sexual harassment and assault awareness was performed by Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) personnel.
"The goal of the expo was to bring in every organization from across the base that can [help] soldiers. What we were trying to do is bring soldiers and [these agencies] together so they can share information," said Master Sgt. David Shenk, 3rd Medical Command Clinical Operations Noncomissioned Officer in Charge and co-organizer. "We hope that every soldier has some resiliency goals and that they walked away from the expo with something to help them achieve those goals -- with some fun along the way too."
The expo was also envisioned as a break from routine for those who attended. With fun in mind, the event featured an outdoor barbecue, a petting zoo and a live performance by Negligent Discharge, a soldier-manned, local band. The expo kicked off with a 5k run and ended with an evening Zumba session.
"We work really hard. When you have some time set aside to look at yourself, to improve upon yourself, to make yourself a better soldier, a better parent, a better friend, it's a time you should take advantage of," said Lt. Col. Irene Talarico, chief of clinical operations and co-organizer of the expo. "When we have an opportunity to look at ourselves and how we can improve our nutrition status, our physical fitness, our way of cultivating relationships, our way of meeting our spiritual needs, it makes us more prepared and ready, as soldiers, to continue our goal here at Camp Arifjan and to support the military."
Beyond personal betterment, Sgt. 1st Class Joel Diaz, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion Operations NCOIC with U.S. Army Central, said these types of events are also good for expanding a leader's toolkit.
"It's a lot of information here that soldiers can benefit from, especially in regard to the local community," said Diaz. He has served 18 years. "I've been in for a long time, but I'm still learning things here. As a leader, it's important to make sure your soldiers attend these types of events when they happen."
Diaz said it was his first time attending a resiliency-based expo and that he would take a lot of useful resources away from the event.