New Army Guard program to increase soldier resiliency

Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire, State Public Affairs Office

Wyoming’s newest soldiers will now be known as Citizen Soldiers For Life, and as such will be afforded a host of resiliency benefits from the new National Guard program bearing the same title.

“We help with everything,” CSFL Career Readiness Counselor Sara Spaulding told a group of new recruits, enrolled in the Recruit Sustainment Program, who were at a weekend drill in Cheyenne Sept. 21. “We’ll help you with finances and job searches and resumes and interview skills. They will give you the basics at basic (initial entry training) but when you get back, we’ll help you with your individual development plan to help you be the best soldier you can be from here on out.”

The program, administered locally through the Service member, Family, Employer, Readiness Support Team, is less than a year old and has been initiated in the 54 states and territories. Under the S-FERST umbrella, it is yet another tool provided to Wyoming Guardsmen to strengthen services in support of service members, their families and their employers.

While Spaulding is a personal link to the soldiers, much of the program is web-based via the website where soldiers at all stages of their career may find useful tools for customizing their “career exploration and job analysis.”

“You can say, ‘maybe I would like this job,’” Spaulding told the young soldiers, most of whom are training to be prepared for basic training. “Play around in it and get some ideas. Don’t overthink it on the choices of job descriptions—just go with your first instinct. I just did the assessment four months ago, and it said I should be a high school guidance counselor. ‘I thought, perfect,’” and when you get back from basic training we’ll do the assessments to get a focused idea of your career choice and help make it happen.”

Spaulding reminded the privates they are in the business of going to war, and that it’s important they have stability at home if and when they are deployed.

“My job is to make sure you have your $#!& together when you’re deployed and you’re not thinking about that other stuff,” Spaulding said bluntly. “When people ask why you are so awesome, you can say Sara Spaulding made me this way.”

Pvt. Carisma Serna is looking forward to working on her budget with Spaulding at next month’s drill before she goes to school to become an Army construction engineer.

“Once I start making some money, I really don’t want to spend it all on like shopping. That’s where it usually all goes, so I’m going to use her help,” she said.

“I’m glad I have her to help me figure out my civilian career and to have someone to ask about financial questions,” said Pvt. Brianna Stone who just returned from school and will start drilling with her regular unit in Douglas in October as a truck driver.

While the primary focus of the program is new recruits, All Wyoming Guard soldiers, family members and retirees are welcome to use the new service. Spaulding’s office number is 307-772-5098.

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