We equip ordinary people to bring extraordinary change to their communities. Are you our next course leader?
by JASON HORN
Our vision was simple: to empower everyday people to offer hope and healing to struggling military and first responder families.
Easier said than done.
Anytime you’re dealing with the subject of trauma or post-traumatic stress, the stakes are high and the risks are real. And we can never underestimate the power, skill and gift that professional clinicians offer to those of us who have struggled.
But if we look back in history, until quite recently, the bulk of this “counsel” came from lay-counselors – everyday people, pastors, friends and mentors. They didn’t have a degree or mental health experience, but they had a listening ear and a lifetime of experience.
As we launched our first trauma healing courses, the impact was evident. And surprisingly, it wasn’t coming from a pharmacological innovation or from a new clinical modality. The impact came from the most time-honored tradition of all: brotherhood and sisterhood. That sense of community has been at the heart of our mission since day one, and it’s become deeply engrained in how we direct our local leaders to lead their courses – as brothers and sisters with their participants, all on a journey of healing together.
Here’s how we train our REBOOT Alliance course leaders today:
Before we can train a leader, we must verify that they are in fact ready to lead. There are seven key characteristics and criteria a course leader must meet to be considered:
- Is this potential leader a veteran, first responder or spouse?
- How openly do they discuss the role that faith has played in their life?
- How mentally, emotional and physically healthy is this potential leader?
- What is the potential leader’s level of access to hurting families?
- How much small group leadership experience does this potential leader have?
- Is this potential leader able to devote at least four hours per week to preparing for their course?
- Does this leader have a supporting team of at least two additional volunteers?
- Once a leadership team is in place and have been approved, the entire team must complete our REBOOT Leadership Academy. This comprehensive DVD-based training instructs our leaders on how to reach hurting families in their community, how to facilitate the course and how to avoid stepping outside of the their expertise. It also equips them to manage higher risk scenarios such as panic attacks or suicidal ideations until the situation can be properly escalated to a trained professionals.
- Reading the playbook is quite different than playing on the field. That’s why we offer coaching to every one of our course locations. In additional to regular check-ins, our leaders are never more than a phone call or text away from one of our staff coaches. This ongoing support ensures that our leaders continue growing and are able to adapt and overcome situations as they arise.
Leader Portal / Private Group
- Our leaders have access to a private leader’s portal that contains additional training related to each week’s topic. These “teaching tips” are designed to maximize facilitation, reduce risk, and build rapport with course participants. Additionally, through a private Facebook group, our leaders build community with one another and are able to seek advice from peers on topics related to group dynamics, volunteer management or course facilitation.
Real-Time Participant Feedback
- During the course, our coaches reach out to participants directly to gain insight regarding group dynamics and the quality of the leadership of a specific location.
- When courses are going well, attendance is consistent and participation is high. But when things aren’t going well, we monitor attendance at our locations on a weekly basis. If we notice any troubling patterns, our coaches step in to assess and support accordingly. This provides an “early detection” system for our courses. During the third week and the final week of our courses, participants complete an outcomes and satisfaction survey. The data from these surveys provides us with sophisticated program evaluation metrics as well as satisfaction data from our course participants.
We don’t underestimate the seriousness of our mission. When our leaders complete our training, utilize coaching, and follow the curriculum structure, they are very likely to succeed. Over 80% of our course locations will continue after their initial rotations and their attendance will usually continue to increase.
Our leader training process exists to equip anyone who is truly called to help the traumatized in their community to do so effectively. If you’d like information on becoming a leader, please contact us and request information on how to Start A Group.
JASON HORN is the Member Services Coordinator for the REBOOT Alliance.