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

Recently I have found myself reacting more strongly than I should to information that is being reported in my news feed, on the radio, and on television news programs.


This newly occurring response to world and local news has given me pause, and an opportunity to dig a bit deeper into why my mind is having this feedback response. After ruminating on this over the course of a few days the research began.


My second stop, after “Googling,” was to open up my Resilience Curriculum. As I was opening up my workbook it hit me that this is first and foremost an issue of my own Self-Awareness. Secondly, it became apparent that some of these reactions were confusing to me. Ah ha, I got it! I was in need of some sleuthing in the form of “Detect Icebergs.” Warning– this is a challenging skill that requires patience, reflection, and truthfulness. “Detect Icebergs” is a skill that is used when our Heatof-the-Moment Thoughts (emotions & reactions) don’t make sense; they confuse us. It focuses on Core Values = How things should be, and Core Beliefs = How things are. Please keep in mind that our Core Values and Beliefs are constantly evolving, and they are not ALL bad, wrong, or in need of changing.


The use of an iceberg as a metaphor is a great visual representation. Icebergs are often our personal broad rules for how the world SHOULD be or how the world IS. Like an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean what can easily seen (above water) does not provide us with the FULL size/scope of the entire iceberg. Our awareness (what is above the water) is that which we are AWARE of; our “Heat of the Moment Thought.” What lurks beneath the surface of the water - the “iceberg” - is that which we are UNAWARE of. Take note that icebergs are not fully in our line-of-sight, but we can learn to understand them and what lies beneath our surface reactions/responses.


One of the easier ways to assist us in understanding our reaction to any given thing is to ask ourselves “what” questions. I know this will challenge our innate response, which is to ask “why” questions. The rationale behind this is understanding that “why” questions lead to defensiveness and rationalization, where as “what” questions lead to curiosity, reflection, and openness. Here are a few examples of “what” questions:


•What’s so bad about that? • What’s the worst part of that? • What bothers me the most about that? • What’s that mean to me?


Please know that any “what” question is fine, if it helps guide you deeper toward your Iceberg and does not keep you focused on Heat-of-the-Moment Thoughts. You will know when to stop asking the “what” questions when the Iceberg can explain your reaction/response.


Ok, so now what? Now you need to spend time determining whether or not the Iceberg needs to be changed. Here are a few questions that will assist in this determination:


• What is the Iceberg? • Is this Iceberg helping or harming me in this situation? Explain. • Does this Iceberg need to be more flexible? Explain.


Keep in mind the following principles when performing this last step. It may be that the Iceberg is harming you in certain situations and negatively impacting your resilience. You may discover that your Iceberg is helping you be resilient. Or, you may even find that you could be more flexible with your Iceberg.


You all know that I like to challenge you to develop your personal skills. So, I challenge you to put the above practice to use the next time you feel your reaction in any given situation does not make sense to what you think it should have been. Thank you to Pennsylvania University and the Penn Master Resilience Training Curriculum for your contributions to this article.


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