VTNG Child & Youth Program provides a supportive environment for children and youth through activities and events specifically designed to encourage personal growth, strength of character, resilience and moral development in peacetime and through the cycles of deployment.


VTNG Child & Youth Program Goals

Education ~ Resilience ~ Access ~ Opportunity ~ Readiness ~ Communication ~ Outreach

Child & Youth Programs Feature Story

The leaves no longer hang from the branches, they have fallen in the recent wind filled days. This tells me that the Northeast is in for six (6) months of winter, ugh. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy winter; the snow, ice & cold.. I will say, “the COLD could not be so cold, when at it’s coldest.”

This paragraph wreaks of “Confirmation Bias.” Understanding Confirmation Bias better allows us to

see the entire picture and to engage in Problem Solving, our next MRT Skill. University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Master Resilience Training materials define Confirmation Bias as: “the tendency to notice the evidence that fits our thoughts and beliefs and to miss the evidence that contradicts our thoughts and beliefs.” Our brains do this automatically and will support our current beliefs, making it harder for us to gain a new perspective and change our minds.


Confirmation Bias happens automatically, outside of our level of awareness. It tends to be stronger for core beliefs (Icebergs-remember last month’s article) like, “x group of people are lazy” or “I’m a great athlete,” than it is for Heat-of-the-Moment thoughts like “it’s hot outside today” or “I need a haircut.” This natural tendency operates on both positive and negative thoughts. Either way, it can under-mine resilience causing you to miss information thereby making it more difficult to see situations accurately. To combat Confirmation Bias we need to use one of the Resilience Core Competencies = “Mental Agility”. Penn Master Resilience Training says that Mental Agility is “being flexible and accurate in the way you think.” As well as, this thinking needs to be “Flexible, Accurate and Thorough (F.A.T.).” We can use this competency to fight Confirmation Bias by asking fair questions, and not leading questions. A leading question would sound like: “How many times did you get a bad grade?” A fair question would sound like: “How did you do on tests over the last year?”


Here are a few steps to take when asking:

1. Write down your thought or belief.

2. Ask questions to see both sides.

3. Ask others to help you see what you are missing.

The last one will assist you in evaluating the accuracy of a

thought, because the other person can help you gather

evidence that is being missed. It is imperative that you select someone who does not share the belief in question. Now go forth and combat your naturally occurring

Confirmation Bias using your amazing Mental Agility.


In the Spirit of Adventure,

Brian Stoudnour

Lead Child & Youth Program Coordinator - Contractor

O: 802-338-3369 | M: 802-310-6745 | brian.r.stoudnour.ctr@mail.mil


Additional Resources and Useful Links

ARNG CYSS Mobile App                                                Child & Youth Program National Website

Military Child Education Coalition                                Our Military Kids