INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It's been said the hardest part of long deployments is the separation and reintegration of Citizen-Soldiers back to civilian life. It can be a hard time for Soldiers and their family members, especially young children.
The Indiana National Guard and the Military Family Research Institute hope to help smooth what could be a rough transition with the "Passport to Success" program. It's a way for children and teenagers to be able to participate in the Guard Soldier's seamless transition weekend with other children, or in some cases with their parents.
"It's fun and interactive, in a game-type atmosphere," said Kathy Broniarczyk, who is the Military Family Research Institute's director of outreach.
During a seamless transition weekend, a Citizen-Soldier is exposed to different resources to help re-integrate to civilian life.
During seamless transition weekends, either a family or just children can go through the Passport to Success program. Events include three different "islands" consisting of communication, feeling and relaxation.
Each island helps families cope with the stress of a deployment, said Broniarczyk.
Because Guard families are scattered throughout the state, there are challenges for children of Citizen-Soldiers.
"The Passport to Success program brings together kids of the same age with the same experiences," said Broniarczyk. The program is open to children ages three to 17.
The Indiana National Guard held its first Passport programs this month and is scheduled to hold more in May for the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 38th Military Police Company.