VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Over 220 students participated in the Training Support Center Hampton Roads (TSCHR) Character Matters interactive training held at the NAS Oceana Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit.
The training theme was Resiliency and Reliance promoting the Navy Chaplain Corps Character Matters campaign, which runs from July 10 to the last week of Sept.
The pilot program, designed by Chaplain Lt. Cary Shinn, Command Chaplain TSCHR, is a creative training session designed to engage students through team building interactive activities that contribute to building community unity cohesion, character building and gaining a new perspective for fostering healthy relationships and increasing military readiness.
Shinn has a unique perspective, having been a Navy Reserve Builder Chief Seabee and a Christian camp manager, for 16 years, he utilized outdoor recreation as a tool towards developing unit leadership.
This experience brings character and creativity out in others through non-traditional opportunities to open up both the heart and mind.
"Anybody can just read stuff off a slide," Shinn said. "But that doesn't stimulate learning. There has to be a thirst and enthusiasm to help our troops with ethics, and most importantly character."
Shinn started the 45 minute session off with jokes, then divided all students into groups. Groups were next given resiliency and reliance activity assignments and then asked to forge partnerships into the group activities. During the exercises (Lean on Me and Human Knot), students learned resiliency and reliance through leadership, teamwork, competition, contemplation and were given a voice throughout the experience.
Shinn's process facilitated participants and leaders alike. Participants were offered problems, processed learning points and were encouraged to accept help as needed or offered. Leaders were asked why they contributed or held back.
Shinn's Goals: "Training Commands have a short window to gain impact in the lives of our sailors and marines. I want to help shape individuals toward a team by drawing on 'their' thirst for learning/sharing. Concurrently, clarify 'their' desired attributes of character and designations of leadership. The intentional byproduct will empower future leaders and entrust the relationship of Chaplains among that process."
According to participant AT3 Elizabeth Allison, "I learned that coming to rely on others is a step by step process that can make you feel vulnerable, but the more people you have to rely on, can make you feel more grounded and supported. Being able to rely on others opens up a door that makes you realize a good leader isn't always someone who steps in, but someone who knows when to trust in the abilities of others." Allison is currently a student in the Consolidated Automated Support System Common Core and Advanced Targeting FLIR three month course.
"To be a good teacher... I must be able to be a student of those I lead," said Shinn.
"It's really gratifying to watch somebody's eyes light up when they get it," said Shinn. "That's the greatest reward."
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