JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Navy Reserve Region Readiness and Mobilization Command (REDCOM) Everett hosted a Returning Warrior Workshop (RWW) at the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, May 5, 2023.
RWW, a component of the Yellow Ribbon Program, provides an opportunity for Reserve Component (RC) Sailors that have recently returned from a deployment, mobilization or individual augmentation to gain knowledge and support as they acclimate back into their civilian lives and relationships. The Sailors are encouraged to invite a designated representative who the Sailor identifies as anyone that provided them support during their deployment. It is usually a spouse, family member or friend, but can be anyone the Sailor chooses to invite.
The Sailors and guests attend the event in civilian clothes and it is normally in an off-base location. The casual dress code and location are intended to provide a relaxed atmosphere where they can explore and address stressors and difficulties of post-deployment life, away from their typical military work environment. Facilitators provide a weekend full of presentations, counseling sessions, workshops and resource booths.
“We have a wonderful group of REDCOM Everett staff members, facilitators who volunteer their time and expertise, dynamic speakers, and representatives from supporting resource organizations who come together to provide an incredible weekend for the attendees. We provide workshops to give Sailors and family members alike the tools to address potential reintegration issues and enhance their overall mental and emotional wellbeing,” said Jolie Harris, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Specialist for REDCOM Everett.
The workshop has breakout sessions scheduled throughout the weekend that cover topics like couples reconnecting, communication skills, temperament and parenting, financial planning, finding happiness, and mindfulness and meditation. The facilitators also offer free group, couples’ and one-on-one counseling sessions with trained mental health professionals. Guests have the opportunity to pick and choose which breakout sessions appeal to them most.
“My wife and I have enjoyed the weekend and topics covered. There have been some things that have come to our attention that we had not considered prior to the workshop. The facilitators and counselors have been helpful and caring. The location is beautiful. I would recommend an RWW to any Sailor returning from a deployment,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Anthony Ferris, a Navy Reserve Sailor who attended this event.
The weekend peaks on Saturday night with the "banquet of honor". The formal evening starts with a social hour to mingle, decompress and take photos. The guests and facilitators then take time to recognize those that have come before them and those who paid the ultimate price. Sailors assigned to REDCOM Everett conduct a prisoner of war/missing in action ceremony to honor those service members. Guests then enjoy dinner, and the night concludes with a guest speaker.
“It was an honor to be the guest speaker and share the weekend with these amazing warriors and family members," said Rear Admiral Jackie McClelland, Vice Director, Navy Staff, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Deputy Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command. "I’ve learned so much from their stories and challenges. I’m overwhelmed and humbled with their resolve, unwavering motivation, and most cherished support systems.”
The last day of the workshop concludes with final breakout sessions and general presentations, followed by guest reviews and evaluations of the event.
“I think it is great that the Navy provides a workshop like this for Reserve Sailors," said Command Master Chief Jerry Dotson, senior enlisted leader of REDCOM Everett. "We hope they have learned a few things to add to their resiliency and fortitude toolboxes. Hopefully they are able to apply these new skills to allow themselves and their families to have a happier and healthier life.”
For more information about Returning Warrior Workshops and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, visit the YRRP website at www.yellowribbon.mil.