Commentary

September 6, 2013

Get along lil’ doggie: PA rides on with CAF day

Airman 1st Class Monet Villacorte
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Being in the military can often bring on unique stressors that may cause challenges in the way we do our job, how we interact with our family and friends, and how we cope with the stress ourselves.

Thankfully, the Air Force understands this and has implemented a day for Airmen to do a fun activity, get to know co-workers better and talk about ways to stay mentally, socially, physically and spiritually balanced. This is called Comprehensive Airman Fitness day.

I don’t deal with change very well. Being the daughter of the military father, you would think it gets easy moving from one place to another, but it doesn’t. Like many new Airmen, this is my first time being extremely far away from my family and my husband, and it’s hard. But days like these get my mind off everything for a while and “I am able to look at the bigger picture.”

For our Public Affairs CAF day, we had the opportunity to clean and ride horses at the Diamond K Ranch.
Although I have ridden a horse once when I was very young, this experience was something totally different. Trust, confidence and patience were big factors in interacting with the horses.

As I said before, dealing with new things is not my forte, but I thought this would be an awesome experience so I had to have confidence in myself. This especially came into play when we were riding the horses. If you wanted the horse to do what you wanted it to, you had to be sure of yourself because surprisingly, it responds to the “vibe” you give out. I was nervous at first because I was unsure of what the horse was going to do and scared that I wouldn’t be able to control it if it decided to abruptly take off out of nowhere, but after a little practice and patience in learning the commands, I got the hang of it.

Another key part of CAF day was the discussion portion. We talked about staying mentally resilient and opened up about times in our lives when staying mentally positive was crucial in our well-being. Not everyone got a chance to tell their story, including myself partially because I didn’t want to feel vulnerable in front of everyone, but I learned after hearing other stories this discussion was a part of the process to being an overall resilient person.

This is what I liked most about CAF day. Not only did I get a chance to hear how to improve my well-being and take the lessons we’ve learned and put them into practice, but I also got to do a great activity with my co-workers and bond. The horses weren’t half bad either. I am definitely looking forward to my next CAF day.




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