Family Readiness Conference

and Youth Symposium


Written by Ileen Kennedy

Published May 3, 2007


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Elaine Dumler with the poster of CSM Dell Smith she affectionately referred to as "Flat Daddy" during her presentation. Copies of Elaine Dumler’s book, I’m Already Home . . . Again were given to each participant. Family Readiness conference attendees gather at the Yarrow Hotel in Park City, April 28 for training.

Photo by Ileen Kennedy

Elaine Dumler with the poster of CSM Dell Smith she affectionately referred to as "Flat Daddy" during her presentation.

PARK CITY, Utah Family Programs held the Utah National Guard Family Readiness Conference and Youth Symposium in Park City, Utah, April 28. This year’s theme, "Key to Success" focused on Family Readiness Group leaders, military leaders, youth volunteers and families. Family Assistance volunteers from around the state attended the conference.

The conference is held once a year and trains Family Programs volunteers. Family Programs depends on volunteers for outreach because there are so many families throughout the state. Volunteers advise staff members on things they see within each unit so Family Programs can better serve and offer assistance to units.

"The support link between Soldiers, citizens and families is crucial. Working together is the ‘Key to Success’ for our Service members serving our country," said CW2 Annette Barnes, State Family Programs director.

The conference gives volunteers an opportunity to network, share ideas and receive training so they can better help Service member families.

The keynote speaker for the conference was, Elaine Dumler. Elaine is the author of two books, I’m Already Home and I’m Already Home...Again.

Additional workshops were offered throughout the day giving all in attendance the tools or keys they can use and take back to help families, communities and Service members or at Family Assistance Centers. The workshops addressed topics such as Challenges of Reintegration, 7 Habits of Highly Successful Military Families, What if?, Marriage and Family Enhancement, Financial Assistance Resources and Resources Around You.

"The conference gave me great ideas and resources that I can take back and share with the families," said Laura Roberts, Camp Williams Family Assistance Center representative. "I loved the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Military Families workshop. I will listen more than talk. With my job I need to do more listening."

The strategic responsiveness of the Utah National Guard relies on a high-quality support structure that provides both Service members and family members with the resources to be self-reliant, especially during times of deployment.

Along with the Family Readiness Conference, Family Programs held the Youth Symposium. At the symposium Utah National Guard youth attended workshops and leadership training. Youth leaders will serve as junior counselors at summer camp or assist during the year at various activities. The workshops created a forum to plan summer camp, network, share ideas and bond. It’s a great way to kick-start the year and generates enthusiasm that carries over to the activities and programs for the youth.


Photo by Ileen Kennedy

Youth take a break and mingle between instruction at the Family Symposium.