Camp Bliss: A day in the life of Soldiers

Educators attending Camp Bliss work as a team to get through the tough and rigorous Leadership Reaction Course here Friday. Photos by Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

Educators attending Camp Bliss work as a team to get through the tough and rigorous Leadership Reaction Course here Friday. Photos by Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff.

By Jonathan LeBlanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:

(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 9, 2017)

Educators from throughout El Paso took advantage of a unique opportunity here Friday and attended the 18th annual Camp Bliss, which provides a daylong look into the lives of Soldiers at Fort Bliss.

Military families are special because they constantly have to adjust and adapt to new environments. The same does not apply to most civilian families, and this is why Camp Bliss is beneficial for educators. It gives them perspective on the lives of military families, especially children of the Soldiers dealing with the hardships of transitioning to new locations.

Jose Garcia, a physical fitness teacher at Logan Elementary School, maneuvers through part of the Leadership Reaction Course during Camp Bliss here Friday.

Patricia Lopez, Fort Bliss school liaison officer, organized this year’s event and elaborated on its importance.

“The focus of today’s event is to assist educators to have a stronger tool box of resources for military families who endure transitional issues such as deployments, redeployments and (permanent change of station) moves,” Lopez said.

Angel Rosa, right, helps a team member at the Leadership Reaction Course during Camp Bliss here Friday.

The participants started the day by attending a briefing from Fort Bliss staff members, military spouses, Soldiers and two high school students who are familiar with Army life.

“This allowed them to see firsthand what these spouses, Soldiers and family members have endured,” Lopez said.

Next stop on the agenda was the Leadership Reaction Course, where the educators broke into teams and had to work together while navigating the course.

“Going through the Leadership Reaction Course gives them a little hands-on experience with what Soldiers do,” Lopez said.

Educators also ate at one of the installation’s dining facilities and then met Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes, deputy commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, as well as Col. Mike Hester, Fort Bliss chief of staff, 1st AD and Fort Bliss.

One of the educators, Angel Rosa, community and schools liaison at John Drugan Elementary School, said this was his first time participating in Camp Bliss.

“This experience has really opened my eyes as to how important our role as educators are to military students,” Rosa said. “I think we can all be more sensitive and be more aware of what these children are going through.”