The director of the Vet's program at the VA PTSD ward where I had done my first class suggested that I contact the Veterans Support Center in Springfield, MA. As before, I started at there by walking in cold and asking if they would like me to do an Aikido class for the Vets. This time I was determined to start a class on a different footing. I wanted it to be an integral part of their regular programming, I wanted there to be a counselor regularly attending each class with definite responsibilities;
to observe vets reactions during class,
to be able to deal with any issues which might arise as they occurred, either by stopping the class and dealing or taking a vet outside if they were having issues,
to conduct a "debriefing" after each class, 15 minutes or so
to insure communications with the Vets regular counselors;
what a Vet might be doing in class
if there were any indications of effects that Aikido might be having on a Vet
and if there was anything we could do in class to reenforce what the counselor was doing
I wanted daily feedback from the counselor and regular meetings with the staff, at least monthly.
This time I when I called I talked to the Director of the Center. She had me come in the next day and after doing my song and dance for her, she explained that they didn't have a lot of space, just a 15x20 foot room with rug on concrete, and staff was pretty stretched out. But she asked me to come to a staff meeting the next Wednesday. I left some of my printed information [which I will have available on the web site, when I ever get it up and running]
Again, I did my soft shoe routine for the staff, with a little demo of irimi tencan. They liked the idea, and particularly liked the close tie-ins with counseling staff, but had to work out scheduling the room and a counselor to work with me. They would do this at their next staff meeting.
The next day the Director called me, said they would like to have classes on Tuesday from 5 to 6, and Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30, with a 15 minute "debrief" period after each class and the same counselor would attend both classes. She knew the staggered time could be difficult, but if things went well, the next time they addressed their overall schedule they would work out a more consistant schedule.
No hassels! No beauracratic bull shit! Three weeks from my first call to starting classes. Much different than the rig-a-ma-roll they put me through at the "big house".
(Original blog post may be found here