Honor Their Service: Ellsworth program teaches kids to ‘BOUNCE’ back from challenges

Our country was built on people fighting for freedom and the freedom of generations to come. Every hour, every minute of every day, our service men and women are across the globe, putting their lives in danger for us.

NewsCenter1 would like to recognize those people and the people who advocate for them here at home. In this week’s segment of “Honor Their Service,” we introduce you to a new program at Ellsworth Air Force Base called BOUNCE.

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – A new program at Ellsworth Air Force Base is teaching some of the youngest people on base resiliency.

By definition, resiliency means the ability to recover from difficulties or to bounce back – a definition that inspired the name of the program, BOUNCE.

“It’s really about learning how to cope and learning how to grow with adversity,” said Kristin Houghton, training and curriculum specialist with EAFB child and youth programs. “Have that growth mindset instead of letting life beat you because life happens.”

BOUNCE stands for:

  • Be optimistic
  • Observe your thoughts
  • Use your strengths
  • Never give up
  • Communicate effectively
  • Embrace you

“You have deployments, frequent [Permanent Change of Station] moves, and with that, you have kids entering new school systems, making new sets of friends,” said Joanne Amundson, a work-life specialist at EAFB. “There’s a lot of things that impact our military kids that our normal kids and the community may not be subject to.”

With the use of visuals, BOUNCE teaches kids to deal with the hardships they come across in daily life.

“We have a visual in the very beginning where we’re trying to explain the concept of resilience, where we go through the average teenager’s day,” said Houghton. “Every time we give a stressor, we blow into a balloon. Then, we go through the same day and every time there’s a stressor but he uses a skill, we deflate the balloon a little bit so you can see the difference between letting that pressure build-up and having the skills to let it out.”

The pilot program, designed for 10- to 15-year-olds, began in October, but Houghton and Amundson hope it continues. They aim for it to be a quarterly program.

“They are taking some of these skills, and they are putting it towards day-to-day use,” said Amundson. “It’s been very positive for the kids.”

It is open to Ellsworth AFB and Army National Guard families.

Categories: Honor Their Service, Local News, South Dakota News