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An open and friendly demeanor, or at least the ability to build rapport and trust, is very important. A facilitator should enjoy hearing what other people have to say (more than hearing the sound of their own voice). As one wise host-site coordinator put it: look for someone who doesn’t let ego get in the way of designing an experience for the common good. And find someone who “gets” what you’re trying to accomplish with the program and respects your goals (as host organization) as much as you respect their knowledge, experience, and skill. A willingness and openness to learn new facilitation skills is essential.

Prior experience working with veterans and/or serving in the military is strongly recommended, but not required. However, what would be helpful is familiarity with current veterans issues (now widely covered in the media), the general history of military operations in which the United States Armed Forces have been deployed in recent decades (especially the Viet Nam War; the Gulf Wars; Operation Enduring Freedom; and Operation Iraqi Freedom), and some working knowledge of basic military terminology and how military units are organized.

The facilitator may already work or have an affiliation with the host organization, but this may be the first time he or she has worked with the group.

The facilitator may benefit from having some advanced training in the humanities. Such training may include but is not limited to an M.A. or Ph.D. in literature, philosophy, history, religious studies, or other related fields. Be mindful that while retired teachers or school personnel are often to eager to take on this role, sometimes their passion for “teaching” gets in the way of being a good listener and allowing the group to make sense of the text.

Seeking to understand
who we are,
who we were
and who we aspire to be.

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