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Educators Learn to Embrace Discomfort

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From Aug. 1st to 3rd, the Wyoming National Guard hosted the 3rd Annual Educator Leadership Rendezvous at the Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center . This three-day event brought together educators from across the state to immerse themselves in the military experience. Emphasizing leadership and culture-building strategies through a military lens, the ELR aimed to fortify the bond between educators and the military, fostering readiness in Wyoming students for college, career, and military pathways.

Under the guidance of 1st Lt. Andrew Bonfield, the officer in charge of the event, 36 educators, alongside a dozen plus service members, embraced the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zones. As Bonfield remarked, “We push our educators beyond their comfort zones, helping them build resilience while ensuring their safety. This experience enables them to return to their classrooms equipped to educate their students.”

The ELR provided a distinctive approach to acquaint educators with the military world, going beyond mere descriptions and presentations. Organized into squads and facilitated by Army and Air National Guard leaders, participants engaged in teamwork-oriented challenges, allowing them to develop practical leadership skills.

Squad leader Staff Sgt. David Mounts from the Army Guard stated, “I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s ELR, where we can share incredible opportunities with our civilian counterparts, especially the educators. Many of them may not fully grasp the scope of what the Air and Army Guard represents in our state. By continuing these events annually, we hope to bridge that gap. I want to come back next year.”

Throughout the event, educators experienced thrilling activities like flying in a C-130 and a UH-60 Black Hawk, repelling down a 40-foot cliff, and familiarizing themselves with various military-grade weapons systems. Additionally, they received training in land navigation and room clearance, skills they put to the test during a land navigation and paintball event the following day.

Becky Junge, a teacher from Casper, expressed her gratitude, stating, “I am incredibly grateful for this experience and partnership, as well as the outstanding individuals leading and serving the state of Wyoming. The laughter, camaraderie, learning, and fun were unforgettable.”

The ELR successfully showcased the military world to educators and enabled them to acquire firsthand knowledge they can share with their students. By supporting this initiative, the Wyoming National Guard continues to make strides in fulfilling the state’s mission of preparing all students to be college, career, and military-ready.

Educators interested in participating in future ELR events, please get in touch with Robin Grandpre at 307-777-5315.

3rd Annual Educator Leadership Rendezvous