Rookie athletes work with former Army pilot through innovative Military Mentorship Program
Rookie national team athletes with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) will learn about resilience from a former Army helicopter pilot as part of the Military Mentorship Program, an innovative initiative of the USSA which brings together Olympic hopefuls and members of the U.S. military. On June 19, participating skiers and snowboarders with the rookie team, including two Olympic athletes, will meet at the USSA’s Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah with Jen Housholder, a survivor of post-traumatic stress disorder who now works as a resilience trainer.
“In recent years, the U.S. military has done groundbreaking work in the field of resilience training,” said Luke Bodensteiner, executive vice president of athletics for the USSA. “But these concepts don’t just apply to the battlefield. As our athletes prepare themselves for years of rigorous emotional and physical training, we hope they can learn from the insights of service members who’ve worked in the field.”
Sponsored by PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union), the Military Mentorship Program was founded by Army veteran and former U.S. Ski Team coach Robi Powers. The program has already held several events including a meet-up in Utah with athletes preparing for the Olympic Games in Sochi who spoke with Purple Heart recipients one-on-one, as well as a meet-up at a military base in Louisiana where service members collaborated with Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
A certified Master Resilience Trainer, Housholder currently works as a civilian flight tester at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. In her off hours, she is the lead singer of Hous Band, performing original songs in venues such as the House of Blues about the challenges facing members of the military as they return to civilian life among other topics.
“Our nation’s defenders and our top athletes both know that their biggest obstacles lie within,” said James Schenck, PenFed president and CEO, and proud sponsor of the first ever Military Mentorship Program. “Whether trying to successfully complete a combat mission or win a gold medal, learning to be resilient in the midst of high-stress situations can mean the difference between success and failure.”
Logos courtesy U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association