The Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course hosted its largest-ever class last month at the Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, featuring 123 service members and civilians.
The MRT course imparts lessons about resilience to students who will then pass on these lessons to their individual organizations.
The course primary instructor, 1st Sgt. Chad Johnson, explained the purpose of resilience is “to help Soldiers not only bounce back from adversity, but grow and thrive in the face of adversity.”
He also said resilience training helps individuals learn from mistakes as well as successes in order to become better Soldiers and civilians.
Students learn about the six core competencies and 14 skills of resilience during the two-week course. They will then return to their units and pass on the teachings over a two-year period. However, the impact of the class goes beyond just learning a curriculum.
“All these students will go back to their units and make a difference within their units,” Johnson said. “Go back and teach the skills and live the skills, making a huge impact within our force these days.”
Students gain a deeper understanding of their character strengths, which helps them refine their leadership styles.
Wisconsin National Guard’s 426th Reginal Training Institute runs Guard Resilience University, which became the Army National Guard’s first resilience training facility in Oct. 2011. The group also made history in March 2013 by becoming the first Reserve Component schoolhouse in the nation to certify MRTs without the aid of external primary instructors. The University of Pennsylvania originally developed the course, and instructors from there taught the course at the Wisconsin Military Academy until 2013.
Dailey Hall at the Wisconsin Military Academy provides an ideal location for the course because it can accommodate the entire class for lectures as well as provide dedicated rooms for breakout sessions. In the breakout sessions, students engage in exercises and conversations proctored by assistant primary instructors and further fueled by facilitators.
Previously, the largest class the schoolhouse taught had 70 students. Next year, the 426th hopes to have class sizes between 90 and 120 participants.
Students come from all across the country to attend MRT courses at the Wisconsin Military Academy. Forty states, plus the territory of Guam, were represented in the September 2016 class.