Over the period 20-29 November, SoliderOn and Army Adventurous Training Wing (ATW), delivered a nine-day ‘reset’ – resilience and adventurous training program called Exercise Battle Back – for a group of 14 serving and ex-serving ADF personnel.
CAPTION: Officer Commanding Adventurous Training Wing Major Dan Fussell encourages an Ex BB participant on an abseil.
Exercise Battle Back was modelled and titled from the UK version of a similar program that uses sport and adventurous training to aid service personnel in a rehabilitation, recovery or reintegration phase of service.
For the Australian trial of Ex BB, the focus was on tailoring adventurous training to empower participants to build a sense of achievement and purpose, enable goal-setting and develop a community of support.
Officer Commanding ATW Major Dan Fussell oversaw Exercise Battle Back and delivered the program with the support of a group of serving unit adventurous training leaders (UATL) and adventurous training leader instructors (ATLI).
Participants conducted abseiling and climbing, and sea kayaking in the vicinity of Point Perpendicular before moving to Goulburn to conduct canyoning and caving at Bungonia National Park.
Ex BB included a dedicated evaluation component, which examined how effectively the program assisted participants achieve the specified outcomes of developing resilience, building positive behaviours and thoughts, and making a commitment to future direction.
Early findings reflect that Ex BB successfully achieved these outcomes and much more.
Participants reflected that Exercise Battle Back helped them build self-confidence, critical-thinking skills and self-awareness that they will transfer into their workplace and personal life.
For ex-serving-member participants, Exercise Battle Back brought closure to the manner in which they left service.
All Ex BB participants achieved positive outcomes.
Overall, Ex BB was judged a successful program, with SoliderOn and Army ATW working collaboratively to better the lives of serving and ex-serving members.
Submitted by Emily Chapman, a RAAF reservist operations officer posted to the Air Liaison Organisation. She has a Masters in Evaluation and is the project lead for the evaluation of Exercise Battle Back.