Family Programs Youth Track Combats Teen Stress


Army Reserve teens face unique challenges. Not only are there the usual stressors of school, peer pressure, and the physical and emotional changes that come with growing up, there are also the added stressors of having a military parent. Some of these additional stressors include long separations, missed birthdays and holidays, and the feeling of isolation within the school and community as most Army Reserve Families do not live near a military installation. Friends and peers may not understand how difficult it can be when a parent is half-way around the world and in harm’s way.

Army Reserve Family Programs has found a way to help our youth learn the skillset they need to overcome adversity by attending the Family Programs University: Youth Track. FPU is an excellent opportunity for the dependents of Army Reserve Soldiers ages 14-18 to receive training on a variety of topics including Platform Skills, OPSEC, and Social Media Best Practices. Perhaps more importantly, they have a chance to form bonds with other Army Reserve youth throughout the nation.

Meet one FPU attendee who has risen up to become strong and resilient in her own right. Hanna Conklin attended FPU last May in Norman, OK along with other Army Reserve teens. Hanna knows all about the challenges faced by military youth today. Her father is COL John Conklin, 104th Training Division (LT), 2d BDE Commander. COL Conklin has 31 years of service in the U.S. military serving with the Montana National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve.

Like her father, Hanna is proud to serve her country and does so with dedication and love. Hanna is part of the National Honor Society and volunteers for her city, church and school. She has been on three international missions with her church, traveling to Jamaica and Poland. She is serving a fourth international mission this summer with a return to Poland. She also volunteers with the 104th’s 2d BDE Family Readiness Group (FRG) where she writes for the newsletter, helps out at meetings, and assists in planning Family Days.

The FPU training has been good for Hanna. When asked what the training was like she said, “the training was a very unique experience that I will always remember because of the people that I met and still keep in touch with, the programs for military families, and the training I got to help the FRG in my dad’s own unit.”

“This training will prepare me for college and a future career because it taught me resiliency to overcome challenges in classes and bumpy patches,” Hanna explained. “The social media safety class taught me to be careful of what I put on social media, not only for mine and my family’s safety, but also for when colleges look at my social media during the interview process,” she added.

In addition to the FPU training, Hanna credits her resiliency to growing up in an Army Family and overcoming difficulties with her father spending time away for home in fulfillment of military duties and to her mom who always told her ‘Whatever happens, there is more to life and the bumps are just temporary.’ She feels that the FPU training has changed the way she sees herself and others “When I got back to school I changed the way I saw my own friends and how supportive they are of the unique lifestyle that none of my other longtime school friends have,” she said.

Hanna’s mother, Kerry Conklin says “Hanna is a mature, resilient, grateful young lady. When her father deployed, she learned to do more things for herself and help out more than usual. She has really matured beyond her age. She began working at Kroger this summer; her boss told me that ‘She is so mature and reliable for her age and a great team member! Do you think it’s because her dad is in the Army?’ “


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