Airmen Immersed in Resiliency at Challenge Day Event

Facilitator Kevin Synarski congratulates a volunteer on “getting weird” and building morale in a team-building activity during a Challenge Day event Nov. 4, 2019 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Challenge Day helps people learn to recognize internal and external social and emotional issues and pressures. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Erica Blanton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —

Hello! My name is Erica, and if you really knew me, you’d know that I’ve been going through a lot lately. Depression, anxiety, weight gain (and not a lot of weight loss), three new jobs in one new town, and a pretty devastating haircut (I don’t know who needs to hear this, but never cut your hair when you’re sad!). It’s not all downer stuff though, I have a ficus I have managed to keep alive and a therapist I really like (who told me not to cut my hair… but I didn’t listen). Sometimes balancing everything can get pretty overwhelming and isolating. It’s so easy to forget that other people, including those who work right next to you, are also struggling.

That’s why Challenge Day was so impactful for me. It helps people learn to recognize internal and external social and emotional issues and pressures. That’s a lot to process in six and a half hours with a room full of strangers. But that is exactly what Staff Sgt. Andrew Tello, 21st Medical Group training manager, who attended a Challenge Day event as a teen, wanted to share with Peterson Air Force Base.

“People are working to the bone and doing everything that they can because the mission’s gotta get done,” he said. “But sometimes, for me, it’s like what is the cost?”

That cost can sometimes be a decrease in resiliency: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Which is why events like this are so important in building reserves up and establishing meaningful connections with other people. But it’s awkward to go and ask strangers to be your friend. That kind of communication doesn’t typically happen.

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