The A.T.H.E.N.A. Program: An Online Training Program for Women Who Served

Members of Operation PRESENCE-Mali conduct their eleventh aeromedical evacuation mission, treating two civilian contractors involved in an IED attack before transferring the casualties to a MINUSMA Role 2 hospital in Gao, near Camp Castor on August 16, 2019.
Photo: Corporal Richard Lessard Task Force-Mali

 

A.T.H.E.N.A: Alliance, Tenacity, Health, Exercise, Nutrition, Authenticity, are the core elements I had in mind while creating our brand-new training program for women veterans. HRD2KILL Training Programs are proud to announce the first wave of registration for our latest project designed for veteran women in Canada. So, if you personally know a woman veteran, stop everything you’re doing and share this blog post with her. We have a limited number of spots available.

An Effort from the Quebec Veterans Foundation and the Barry F. Lorenzetti Foundation to Create the A.T.H.E.N.A Program

CAF Veteran Women's Program

This online personal training service is our latest project at HRD2KILL Programs and it was made possible due to the support of the Quebec Veterans Foundation (QVF) and the Barry F. Lorenzetti Foundation (FBFL). By joining their efforts, these two foundations were able to put create the BFLF Womens’ Program designed for women who are now retired from the Canadian Armed Forces.

One of their main goals is to offer activities oriented around wellness, specifically made to answer the unique needs of women veterans in Quebec and Canada while transitioning to civilian life. This desire to encourage the development of such activities is what led to our partnership with the QVF. The QVF is entirely covering the costs associated to our A.T.H.E.N.A. program for every single participant of the program. This will allow five women to adhere to A.T.H.E.N.A. for an unlimited period of time, for as long as she needs, for free!

Why a program just for women

Since 2016, VAC has been collecting gender-specific data. This explains why women were more likely than men to report a difficult adjustment to civilian life. Female veterans had a higher chance of living with a disability, reported a lower quality of life than men, and had a higher prevalence of mental health problems (Hachey et. Al., 2016).

In addition, three years after leaving service, women had a total income 21% lower than they had earned in the military, while men had exactly the same income. Average earnings three years after leaving service were 51% lower for women, compared with a drop of 34% for men.

Beyond their effect on mental health, cases of sexual misconduct also have repercussions on the career of the victim, who may be removed from her unit or even released from the military involuntarily. In addition, gender factors that affect the careers of female CAF members persist long after release (Eichler, 2016).

Source: https://deretourenforce.ca/en/bflf-women-veterans-program/

 

What the program consists of

First, allow me to explain what inspired the choice for the program name: A.T.H.E.N.A. The goddess Athena from Greek mythology was considered the great protector, and the goddess of war and defence. We can only make a parallel between this strong woman and the women veterans of the CAF, who served and protected our country. That is why I was inspired by Athena and wanted to create a program that reflected her image. Now let me give you the key aspects of this program: 

  1. A complete analysis of the participant’s health goals with me, Audrée Dufresne, certified personal trainer. This could mean: weight loss, increased strength, improved cardiovascular endurance etc. 
  2. A movement analysis as well as an analysis of any previous or current injuries, whether it be back pain, chronic ankle
    ATHENA program
    Corporal Peggy Harris, member of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) Force Military Police Unit (FMPU), exercise at the MFO South Camp outdoor gym in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt during Operation CALUMET on March 23, 2019.
    Photo: Sergeant Vincent Carbonneau, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

    sprains or a past surgery. My job will be to insure the training program takes into consideration any of those limitations. 

  3. A coaching program that includes, exercise, nutrition, as well as healthy habits from the personal trainer. The goal of A.T.H.E.N.A is to not only offer a close follow-up in terms f exercise, but also in all other spheres of a healthy lifestyle. For example, this could also tackle stress, sleep, meal prepping etc.
  4. A support group composed of the other participants. Using the online platform, all women participating will be able to attend group virtual check-ins and share their progress as well as their questions with each other. 
  5. Live virtual training sessions with the rest of the group. 
  6. This service will be offered entirely online in order to eliminate any geographical barrier. Any veteran women from the CAF will be able register to participate
  7. Access to the exclusive HRD2KILL Training Programs Facebook group which includes informative videos, fitness challenges and support from the HRD2KILL community. 

The importance of being physically fit

We developed bad habits during our time at FAC. Some of you may get anxious just the idea of ​​training again. It doesn’t have to be. I encourage you to read a great article on the importance of being physically strong and how you can start working on it today.

By being a part of the CAF myself for the last three years, I felt a sense of responsibility to give back to the women who participated in the evolution of women’s role in the forces. Which is why, when the opportunity presented itself to join this project, I did not hesitate one second. I have been a certified personal trainer for the last seven years and I am also completing my last semester of a BSc in Athletic Therapy. So, you will understand my enthusiasm in collaborating with this project, whose purpose is to help veteran women pursuing a healthy lifestyle upon their transition to civilian life. 

If you are interested by A.T.H.E.N.A or know someone who could benefit from it, follow this link below in order to start the registration process: CAF Veteran Women's Program

You can also reach me directly by using my email address: audree@davemorrow.net

If you would like to know more about the FBFL program and the role of the QVF in this project, I invite you to listen to our latest episode of the podcast where we chat with Stephanie Tomé, coordinator at the QVF. Podcast is set to launch on 24FEB21. Be sure to subscribe to the HRD2KILL Podcast to not miss out.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE

 

 

Audrée is a graduating student in Athletic Therapy from Concordia University and a reservist in the CAF with the 51st Fd Amb. Coming from a contemporary dancing background, she was looking to improve her physical capabilities through strength and conditioning. At 17 years old she had her personal training certification and was working in a gym helping people reach their fitness goals. She now is focusing her work on getting people to their full potential through globally assessing body mechanics and weaknesses with athletic therapy.

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