Over the past seven Friday Field Notes, we have examined the ways in which the Military Families Learning Network can help military family service providers support fitness in all eight domains of Total Force Fitness.
Social Fitness: The 2019 Virtual Conference, Relationships for Readiness, is a great example of how networks are crucial to supporting military families. The conference focused on the Department of Defense Family Readiness System, which focuses on meeting the needs of family members in all domains of wellness. Sessions emphasized collaborating with other professions, best practices for building professional networks, and effective communication across disciplines.
Physical Fitness: The Family Transitions team takes a well-rounded approach to many aspects of Total Force Fitness including physical fitness. For many families, the diagnosis of a chronic illness and subsequent lifestyle changes requires a multifaceted perspective in order for military families to effectively cope with change. The Family Transitions team assists in this effort by collaborating with other MFLN like Family Development and Military Caregiving.
Nutritional Fitness: The Nutrition and Wellness team in MFLN focuses on the unique needs of military families. We explored the services provided by this team, such as education and services to address many aspects of well-being. The Nutrition and Wellness team’s services are designed to address aspects of health that go beyond physical health to include mental health as well.
Medical and Dental Fitness: MFLN’s Family Development and Early Intervention team was featured with their focus on supporting military families and emphasis on early intervention with children who are at risk for disabilities and developmental delays. Their series, Sunrise Through Sunset: Supporting Children with Autism Through Their Day is a great example of increasing social fitness in military families who may face concerns like limited outings and isolation.
Psychological Fitness: In the first week exploring the offerings of MFLN, the Network Literacy Team was featured as a crucial support in serving military families. Network Literacy’s programming is designed to increase resilience through relationships and networks so military families can grow and maintain their essential networks.
Behavioral Fitness: MFLN’s Nutrition and Wellness team has overarching benefits for the service providers by also addressing behavioral fitness as a part of overall wellness. Programming, such as how to avoid burnout, was briefly mentioned in our exploration of the Nutrition and Wellness team.
Spiritual Fitness: Spiritual Fitness was addressed through our exploration of Military Caregiving. Their upcoming webinar was featured as it will educate service providers on topics unique to service members, such as PTSD, moral injury, killing in combat, and survivor’s guilt.
Environmental Fitness: The Family Development team effectively addressed aspects of environmental fitness in our exploration of kin care in military families. This type of transition can be difficult for children as well as their new caretakers. Ensuring that service providers are knowledgeable about the environmental risk factors and protective factors can help to create a suitable environment for families involved with kin care.
We hope these posts have informed you about the variety of programs available through MFLN when working to support military families. We are excited to continue to share resources to support Total Force Fitness in future Friday field Notes, which will feature examples of Cooperative Extension programs working in TFF domains, in the words of the practitioners themselves.