Friday 26 August saw the completion of the pilot Peak Performance Program and the official opening of the Vasey Resilience Centre (VRC) at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville with the generous support of RSL Queensland.
The Centre is appropriately named after Major General George Vasey, who personified resilience throughout his career where the odds were often stacked again him. It was a tough life from the start for Major General Vasey.
RSL Queensland has embraced the new initiative from 3rd Brigade, which is designed to equip soldiers with the life skills and tools to handle the rigours of operational service and challenges of life.
“This is about building the complete solider or human being through a holistic framework that might set soldiers up to thrive and survive,” said Chaplain Dan Cassidy, who is coordinating the program.
The VRC is a key element in the 3rd Brigade Human Performance Framework that also encompasses Geckos Family Centre and the Soldier Recovery Centre (SRC).
Whilst an emphasis has been had on supporting our wounded, injured and ill soldiers for the past 10 years, the question has been asked: What if we could prevent some of those things from occurring in the first place?
The VRC seeks to tackle this very issue and to pre-habilitate soldiers, ultimately preventing the physical, mental and moral injuries before they become an issue for our soldiers.
Deputy Commander of 3rd Brigade, LTCOL James Smith equates the program with “inoculation that aims to give soldiers the skills and understanding to manage stressful situations that they may encounter during intensive training, in their domestic life, or on operational service.”
RSL Queensland Veteran Services Manager Robert Skoda expressed the support of the League for the program, in this significant year for the RSL.
“2016 marks RSL’s Centenary, and we are gearing up to be there for another 100 years. Group activities, physical training, alternative therapies, resilience and reintegration, and fostering an environment for families to come together and reconnect are core to our future service delivery,” said Mr Skoda.
“We’ve recognised the needs of this next generation of ADF personnel are changing and we’re excited to be supporting them in this journey.”
This 'whole of soldier' approach is designed to assist each soldier to realise their personal and professional potential. The program is centred around the three pillars: Physical, Intellectual (Emotional and Cognitive) and Character (Spiritual, Family and Social) which are also integrated through structured activities and selected advanced military skills training.
The Centre recognises that enabling soldiers to realise their full potential builds resilience and reduces their risk of physical, mental and moral injuries that degrade capability and which ultimately effect more than just the soldier, including their family, the unit and the community.
“The Vasey Resilience Centre aims to develop a team of physically and mentally robust soldiers, whose resilience and fitness enables them to thrive in the military, succeed in battle and to ultimately become positive and productive members of our community,” said LTCOL Smith.
“Through education and training across the three pillars, soldiers will learn skills that can prevent injury and help identify areas of weakness. If their skills cannot stand up to pressures in the barracks environment it won’t stand up to the rigours of combat,” said Chaplain Cassidy.
To make this project a reality the VRC is drawing on technology being used by major sporting clubs and organisations like the AIS in conjunction with the AHQ Project Austin and the generous support of RSL Queensland.
Thumbnail image: RSL (Queensland Branch) State Vice President Ewan Cameron with Chaplin Dan Cassidy and WO2 Adam Keys. (Image courtesy SPR Joshua Saurin).