A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be selected to attend an indispensable program that helped me to hone-in a bit more on hidden values that I possessed as a potential employee and as a contributing member of my community. The program was called Warrior Week and it was an eye (and soul) opening experience for me.
Camp Southern Ground (CSG) is the proud property of Zac Brown of the award-winning Zac Brown Band. His organization’s mission is to provide “extraordinary experiences for individuals to recognize and magnify the unique gifts within themselves and others to profoundly impact the world.”
The CSG campus stretches across more than 400 acres of land in Fayetteville, Georgia. During summer months, CSG hosts children ages 7-17 for week-long, inclusive, residential camps, bringing together typically developingchildren, children with neurodevelopmental differences, underserved kids, and kids from military families.
For the remainder of the year, Camp Southern Ground makes use of the campus by supporting US military veterans with two invaluable, no-cost programs:
Warrior Week – CSG’s signature workforce and wellness transition program helping veterans in the transition to civilian life after military service
Warrior PATHH (Progressive Alternative Training for Helping Heroes) – CSG acts as a partner organization with the Boulder Crest Foundation (BCF) aiming to facilitate post-traumatic growth among combat veterans struggling with PTSD and/or combat stress.
(see my other blog post for a little more on that one: https://wordpress.com/post/vetvoiceblog.com/92)
I’m going to focus on Warrior Week for brevity (and my sanity) in this post. The links for both programs will be included in this post at the end.
Warrior Week is Camp Southern Ground’s signature wellness and workforce readiness program. This transition program helps veterans identify their unique strengths, define their purpose, and develop an action plan to find their new mission(s) in life after service. The program (both programs, actually) are founded on the premise that when men and women serve in combat, and we (the community at large) have an obligation to honor their service and sacrifice, and to care for these warriors upon their return home (since the government doesn’t always do such a great job with this stuff).
It begins with a few days in-person, on-campus, applying a holistic approach to growth and discovery amongst a group of peers and mentors that walk the attendees through that introductory week and then further on through the extended 12-month transition program. Warrior Week engages the veterans in team-building exercises on ropes courses (and other activities), eating amazing (and nutritious) food together in order to fuel these precious “high-touch” days together before the distance-learning and check-ins begin. Instructors introduce attendees to the Clifton Strengths and Enneagram assessments and spend quality time digesting those results. Each veteran gets an opportunity to truly “dig-in” and discovery more about themselves through these assessments than they likely knew. This week also connects veterans to a wide-ranging support network that exists in the non-profit sector. There are three goals of this course: Discover your Strengths, Define Your Purpose, and Develop your Life Plan.
Discover your Strengths
This goal is achieved by using the Clifton Strengths Assessment and the Enneagram of Personality Theory to help participants discover what they do best, learn how to leverage their greatest talents, achieve a heightened self-awareness, develop and practice new ways to translate skills in a civilian setting, and improve performance, productivity, and fulfillment.
Define your Purpose
Everyone is pursuing something most of us struggle to identify – our why for being. Warrior Week staff give veterans the time and training to ask themselves the tough questions that allow them to pursue goals aligned with their values and to find the passion needed to see those goals to completion.
Develop Your Life Plan
This is considered the core outcome for Warrior Week. It is an all-inclusive plan that plots specific markers to see development professionally, relationally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Challenging veterans to live according to the truth that the only thing we can control is ourselves. This life plan is a focused way for to help veterans exercise self-leadership and to develop a system of accountability in moving forward from the program.
When I attended Warrior Week, I fondly recall Ms. Cherita and her colleagues creating amazing, resort-worthy meals for us each day. Dr. Jen is still someone I reach out to from time to time, and always has a helpful nugget of information to provide. Chief Darren was always at the ready with a wise word or a wise crack from behind his camera. Sean C since moved on, but possessed empathy as a superpower. I also can’t forget Jake and his down-to-earth discussions. There were more folks that were INVALUABLE to this program — and I absolutely SUCK at remembering large groups of names — so please don’t feel bad if I wasn’t able to provide them all in this forum (I can still see everyone’s faces, I just forgot those pesky names, I’m sorry).
The bottom line for this article is that I believe this program can help you if one needs a kick-in-the-ass, a friend to turn to for help, or if you just have a desire to learn more about what makes you TICK and how you can use those traits for improvement.
I humbly ask that you share this post if there’s anyone you can think of that might benefit from this information.
Camp Southern Ground: https://www.campsouthernground.org/
Boulder Crest Foundation: https://bouldercrest.org/
Warrior PATHH Program: https://bouldercrest.org/warriorpathh/