DVIDS – News – Fort Drum families relax while enjoying stress management activities at Chillfest

FORT DRUM, NY (August 26, 2022) – There are many ways for a person to relax, find calm, and clear their mind. Dozens of Fort Drum family members sampled a variety of stress-management activities Aug. 25 during the Family Advocacy Program’s inaugural Chillfest event at LeRay Mansion.

“The idea behind Chillfest is to bring families in and try a bunch of different things they can do to deal with stress,” said FAP educator Tom Wojcikowski. “They can make meditation bracelets or create a mindfulness jar, which can be very relaxing for people.”

A mindfulness jar – portable and filled with floating glitter – is said to have a calming effect, and it can be used by anyone who is stressed or anxious. Participants could also design their own Worry Monster.

“It’s a fun craft where you make a monster face out of a box, and there’s a mouth opening where you put your worries,” Wojcikowski said. “Children can write down anything that worries them, then they put it in the worried monster’s mouth and their worries are eaten away.”

At the Exceptional Family Member Program booth, family members could try out different toys and sensory games and learn about different EFMP events. This fall, a new Sensory Play Workshop is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. For more information or to register, call (315) 772-0664.

Gavin Zimmerman, 14, volunteered at Chillfest to help community members make sensory bags filled with colorful rice, beads and multi-shaped trinkets. The intention is to develop the sense of touch and fine motor skills in young children as they move the various objects around the bag. For older children and adults, they can help relieve anxiety or irritability – like fidget spinners – by providing mindful activity.

“I had a sensory bag,” he said. “It’s a great way to keep yourself busy, calm down and relax. That’s what Chillfest is.

Zimmerman, a freshman at Indian River High School, has a different approach to dealing with stress.

“I like listening to music,” he says. “It helps me relax. Whenever I’m stressed about homework or something I have to do for scouts, I put on headphones, listen to music and it calms me down. I can walk away , breathe and reassess the situation.

Chillfest was originally scheduled for April 2020, but the spread of COVID-19 has put a stop to public gatherings in post.

“We’ve been waiting to do this ever since, and it was finally the right time,” Wojcikowski said. “I hope people will find this useful. In our stress and anger classes, we tell people to find what helps them de-stress. If your anger or stress level is really high, then find someone to talk to – maybe a chaplain or an MFLC (military and family life counselor) – and talk about those issues.

Fort Drum FAP staff are hosting an event next month to help students head into a new school year. A Bonfire Bonanza is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on September 15 at the Oates Overview Lodge in Remington Park. Attendees can participate in games and crafts, prepare trail mixes and s’mores, and tell stories around a campfire. For more information, call (315) 772-5914 or visit www.facebook.com/FTdrumFAP.

Date taken: 26.08.2022
Date posted: 26.08.2022 08:17
Story ID: 428094
Location: FORT DRUM, NY, USA

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