Outdoor Recreation offers PT adventure, de-stressors

| November 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — 2nd Lt. Russell Kimmel, a platoon leader with Maintenance Platoon, Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, participates in alternative PT outside the Outdoor Recreation Center, Sept. 6, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Story and photos by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Outdoor Recreation Center was filled with laughter. Soldiers wearing giant plastic Battle Balls had smashed into each other, tumbling and rolling around the field.

Spc. Jianing Guo, automated logistical specialist, Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, came close to the sidelines, and his fellow colleagues offered to jump in for him if he was tired.

“One more,” he said, almost out of breath, and went back in to the bubbly chaos.

It’s a given that service members must stay in shape, exercising each day. However, marching in full gear or simply running every morning can be tedious, especially this past week as many have been working off Thanksgiving indulgences. But physical training (PT), doesn’t have to be boring.

PT Adventure
“I was surprised what a good workout this is,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Roberts, a maintenance supervisor with FSC, 84th Eng. Bn.

One Soldier commented that it tends to get hot in the Battle Ball fairly quickly.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Sgt. 1st Class John Roberts, a maintenance supervisor with Forward Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, attempts to turn over the Blitz Ball for Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesse Amaya, an automotive maintenance warrant officer, FSC, 84th Eng. Bn., outside the Outdoor Recreation Center, Sept. 6, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

“It’s pretty fun (to play outside),” said Spc. Jean Lindor, a track vehicle repairer with FSC, 84th Eng. Bn. “People hit you back. You don’t know where it’s going to come from.”

The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate’s Outdoor Recreation Center offers two types of alternative physical training to service members. One is called PT Adventure, the other, Warrior Adventure Quest.

PT Adventure is open to active duty service members. For $6 per person, Soldiers can use equipment from the ORC.
Members of FSC, 84th Eng. Bn. played bubble soccer, using a stability ball as a soccer ball, and with each player wearing a giant plastic Battle Ball.

“I wish PT was like this every day,” said 2nd Lt. Russell Kimmel, platoon leader, Maintenance Platoon, FSC, 84th Eng. Bn. “If PT was this fun, no one would complain – ever.”

Kimmel said two to three times per month, the unit does alternative PT. They have tried different types of alternative PT, such as hiking Kaena Point, playing ultimate Frisbee and conducting relay races with built-in exercises.

“(If the alternative activity) still meets the objective of getting a good workout, then why not?” Kimmel said.

Spc. Briyitt Peredia initiated the request for a second game with Battle Balls, as the unit had already played before.

“Everyone got involved,” she said. “We started asking more people if they wanted to come. (The game included) senior noncommissioned officers, officers, a lot of higher ups you wouldn’t think would come.”

Peredia said it was fun to knock over one’s platoon leader. Overall, she said, the game not only added an element of variety, but also promoted camaraderie among the enlisted and officers.

“It’s good motivation,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesse Amaya, an automotive maintenance warrant officer, FSC, 84th Eng. Bn. “You get to mess around, but you get the padding. It’s (also) monitored.”

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Spc. Kunwar Nilendra, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with 84th Engineer Battalion, takes a breather during alternative PT outside the Outdoor Recreation Center, Sept. 6, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Warrior Adventure Quest
The ORC also offers Warrior Adventure Quest, which is usually for Soldiers returning from deployment. This activity, unlike PT Adventures, costs nothing, and is considered a duty day. Unit leadership also attends and participates.
“This tool presents coping outlets to help Soldiers realize their own new level of normal after deployment and ‘move on’ with their lives,” the DFMWR website reads.

This program began in 2009 during the Global War on Terrorism. Soldiers coming home from deployment would use this as an Army Reset program, which aids in getting individual Soldiers re-acclimated to being at home again. Since then, WAQ has focused more on resiliency, and Soldiers use it before and after deploying.

Richard Robinson, a recreation specialist with the ORC, assists WAQ activities. He said that WAQ helps Soldiers “blow off steam in a controlled environment,” gives trained staff the opportunity to observe and evaluate Soldiers during activities, and speaks with the Soldiers about issues that do arise during said activities.

Soldiers who participate in WAQ can do a variety of activities, such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and sailing. Non-aquatic activities include reball or reusable paintball.

Groups of about 15 to 30 Soldiers participate in WAQ. If there are more in a single group, the Soldiers are divided into smaller groups.

According to the U.S. Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation website, WAQ has five phases. During the first phase, unit leaders learn about the leader-led action debriefing (L-LAAD). The Army Medical Department center and school came up with the L-LAAD to help Soldiers review their time engaged in the recreational activity and link it to any issues they were dealing with.

During the second phase, unit leaders learn about the use of L-LAAD during a WAQ activity. During the third phase, the Soldiers in the unit undergo online training. During the fourth phase, the unit engages in the WAQ activity, and the fifth and final phase is spent applying the L-LAAD to the activity.

“The debrief brings to conscious mind the stress relief that the Soldier had just experienced as well as informs them of different resources they may use to facilitate easing daily stress,” Robinson said.

He said when he mentions that aggression can happen during a briefing prior to paintball with the Soldiers, they laugh. But when they play, they realize the effect paintball can have on them.

“Paintball is far more effective, useful (than other activities),” Robinson said. “We need to see where your trigger is.”

He mentioned that during a WAQ activity, a Soldier began acting as though he were in combat. The unit had recently returned from deployment. Through WAQ, the Soldier was able to get help for the emotions that emerged during WAQ.

“What happens here, stays here,” Robinson said. “This is where we want it to happen.”

Points of Contact
Schofield Barracks Outdoor Recreation WAQ is currently being offered to all units. For more information, contact ODR at (808) 655-9045.

For more details about the Outdoor Recreation Center, visit https://hawaii.armymwr.com/programs/outdoor-recreation-center.

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