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Reality Check Monday – Finding My Way Back

It came to my attention this morning during training that I m not really excited about this upcoming meet yet. And I really need to be. I really should be. Its one I ve been excited about doing for the past couple of years now. Its the Women s PRO/AM in Cincinatti, hosted by Laura Phelps Sweatt (if you are a powerlifter, no explanation is needed, if not she s THE GODDESS of powerlifting). Only 75 spots are available and this year they sold out in under an hour. I was fortunate enough to get in, registering around number 63 just 13 minutes after registration opened. Crazy. So I should be totally PUMPED for this. I m just not yet. Hopefully that s just because April sounds so far away to me right now. In two weeks I ll start my comp cycle so I m hoping the pump finds me then if not sooner. That being said, I didn t have a stellar training session this morning bench accessory day. I went through the motions but I wasn t truly focused on what I was doing. When you re benching, you need to be focused. There are so many things to focus on, the mental checklist is super long. Physically I felt great. I got some great rest this weekend and my nutrition was pretty good, all things considered. Its the mental focus that is lacking. And that is my issue. I just need to figure out why. Where or where did my focus go?

The rest of my life is busy as usual. I m not new to being over-scheduled and having more to do than hours to do it in. I think its just different. Obviously the kids and their needs are the biggest bandits of my time. But the things they need me for now are bigger and more stressful. I know that the changes over the past year are nothing compared to the changes that lie ahead. Ben got his driver s license last April and while that lightened my driving load a little, it added the stress of making sure his car is in good running order, there s money to put fuel in the tank and of course the general worry about him being in charge of a deadly weapon, amidst a million crazy people also in charge of moving death machines. Amy started high school in Rutland this year too. So now instead of knowing she s getting on the bus to get to and from school, its a daily conversation (or multitude of conversations) to make sure she has a ride in, a ride home, a ride to practice. I have to admit, she s done very well at making this task her own. She s generally way ahead of me and just lets me know when I need to be picking her up but I still need the conversations. So there are actually fewer things that I do for them but far more and bigger things that they need from me. Mom can you review my essays for my Academy application? Should I sign up to take the SATs in January? What if I don t do well? When should I take them again? Should I order the study guide? Should I hire an SAT tutor? I need to visit Norwich so I can talk to an ROTC person. What if I don t get into the Academy? What if I don t get into the Academy? I really want to go the the Academy. Does this tie go with this shirt? Do you think I stand a chance at getting into the Academy? The boy makes my head spin. And I feel like THE. LUCKIEST. MOM. ALIVE. to have this kind of stress.

Part of me is very freaked out about what comes next for my boy. I take that back. ALL of me is freaked out about it. I know my days with both kids at home are numbered. And those numbers are rapidly getting smaller. And perhaps that s part of what has happened to my focus. I feel so ADD most days. Is the underlying reason for that my fear of what comes next? What am I going to do when my first born leaves home? Even scarier what am I going to do when they are both gone? I try not to tackle that one very often. That one had me all but paralyzed for a while. I try to take comfort however, knowing that many before me have survived this same situation. Perhaps there will be more time for me to focus on me. Everything is temporary and that s what s getting me through day to day. Just because all of these stressful things are going on now, doesn t mean they will go on forever. Likely they will be replaced by other stresses but I am holding out hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel and that its not a freight train. Maybe by putting this out there, by getting it out of my head, I stand a better chance at being able to focus on my training when I m training.

Vermont challenged in finding new police officers~ RH 11-8-15 …

Not every Vermont police department is struggling to find new officers, but many in the field say it s getting harder to not only find the right people but to find those who are even interested in the position. There are close to 70 law enforcement agencies in Vermont. The Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council shows that about half those agencies are advertising for new officers. Certified officers in Vermont must go through the Vermont Police Academy, which only hosts two classes a year for full-time officers. When it operates at maximum capacity, the academy turns out 76 officers a year. The Vermont State Police attempts to bring on 30 officers a year.

Richard Gauthier, who has been executive director of the Vermont Police Academy for five years, said state leaders are aware of the stress on the academy to train recruits.

We have let the Legislature know that we are restricted to two classes a year to a maximum of 38 (recruits) because of facility and staffing issues, he said. Last week, the academy, which also hosts three part-time sessions a year, was filling the last few slots for its February class. The classes last 16 weeks and students live at the Pittsford academy Monday through Friday during the term. Gauthier said there is a long-term planning process that includes a new facility, but that s years down the road.

However, the issue isn t simply the logistics of aging infrastructure. Gauthier pointed out that the selection process at most agencies is pretty rigorous. Recruits take the academy s entry test and psychological inventory, and the department sponsoring the recruit does its own background check and polygraph test. Entry to the academy also requires passing a physical fitness test because of the rigors of the training process. Commander David Covell of the Rutland City Police Department said the city has done well in finding recruits, which he said is a tribute to the department.

We ve seen a lot of interest in the Rutland City Police Department because people that are interested in law enforcement are hearing about what we re doing here, he said, our different initiatives, like Project VISION or our data-driven approach to crime reduction, so a lot of young people are hearing what we re doing here differently.

However, Covell, who until last week was the acting chief, said he had noticed that there didn t seem to be as many young people interested in a career in law enforcement as there once were. It s a big issue for the Vermont State Police, according to Capt. Ingrid Jonas, the staff operations commander whose responsibilities include training, recruitment and retention.

Our applicant pool has gone down considerably over the past several years, she said. We used to get thousands of applicants. Now we get hundreds of applicants per year. Our process is extremely rigorous in terms of selecting the right people for policing, so if the pool of applicants is smaller, it just makes it harder to find the right numbers. Jonas said historically only 2 to 5 percent of the applicant pool goes on to become troopers. This creates a special challenge now when the State Police are expecting to lose up to 30 percent of the troopers in the next three to five years to retirement.

Small-town issues

The competition for good recruits creates problems for smaller departments as well. Fair Haven Police Chief William Humphries, who has been chief for 11 years, said he s had some difficulty finding full-time officers and almost impossible to recruit part-time officers.

Obviously, being a small department, it s hard for us to compete against Rutland City or Bennington or the state police. They pay a lot more than we do, he said. Humphries said he had found in his department, and in the nearby Castleton Police Department, that some recruits get their certification and training in a small town and then leave for positions with the Vermont State Police. Barre Town Manager Carl Rogers said the department is his town has been stable and hasn t needed a new recruit in almost two years. He said the strong economy before 2008 was part of the reason. But even after the town saw more applicants following the economic downturn, he said, many of those applicants couldn t pass the fitness or polygraph tests.

Humphries said another challenge was that some neighboring states like New York and Massachusetts offer better pay or benefits. While Humphries said he loves his job and is satisfied with his compensation, Vermont can be less competitive if recruits are starting as New York troopers and making more than experienced local police officers here. Learn and leave

There are some positive signs. Rene Zirpolo Merges, who teaches criminal justice classes at Southern Vermont College, said the major is the second largest at the college. She said the number of open police positions could even become a positive if it can attract students to take criminal justice courses at Vermont colleges and then stay for the job. However, that could be a tough sell for those who have other plans for their lives.

I don t think we re seeing a drop in people interested but we have students not only right from Vermont, we have students from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and surrounding state whose idea it is to come and get educated, she said, and their real dream is to go back and serve on police departments that maybe family members have served on or from their own areas and be close to their extended families.

Jonas agreed that quality of life could be key to recruiting new troopers. She said part of the job was selling Vermont as much as the Vermont State Police. Another challenge is that recruiting new police is more than just attracting numbers of people. Killington Police Chief Whit Montgomery said his small department has the unusual challenge of finding someone who can serve a town that can swell from 800 locals to 20,000 people during a busy ski weekend and who can serve in a difficult position.

One minute you re a father or a mother, you re a nurse or a psychologist or a psychiatrist, you re an attorney, you re a judge, Montgomery said.

You re all those things within five minutes of responding to a call, he said. You don t have a lot of time to do a lot of background stuff on a lot of the situations you get into so it really does take a unique person with a unique skillset to do the job to begin with. A wide net

Jonas said the State Police are trying to embrace that challenge, looking for more people of color and background as well as those with varying backgrounds.

We want to cast the net wide, she said. We want people with a variety of life and work experience because at the end of the day that s mostly what we re looking for. People who have maturity, people who have integrity, people who have a sense of service and a commitment to their community make really good troopers.

Covell, however, said there can also be value to a slow and steady approach.

You can t compromise on your standards, regardless of how many vacancies you have. You have to hire people that have the values, personal integrity, sound moral character that make them worthy of becoming a police officer, he said.

patrick.mcardle @rutlandherald.com

National Skills Academy for Logistics welcomes Government stance …

Press release United Kingdom 11 Mar 2013 Training Press Releases National Skills Academy for Logistics Peter Sherry, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Logistics, welcomes the Prime Minister s speech on the future of apprenticeships Today, at the start of National Apprenticeship Week, Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech at a training academy in Buckinghamshire, calling on employers, educators and MPs from all parties to back apprenticeships. In the speech, Cameron said that apprenticeships should be the ‘new norm’ – and a viable alternative to a degree. He cited Germany as an example – where most teenagers either go to university or move into an apprenticeship.

Said Cameron, “I want it to be the new norm for young people to either go to university or into an apprenticeship.” The chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Logistics, Peter Sherry, says he couldn’t be more welcoming of the Prime Minister’s stance. “The Richard Review last year set out how vital apprenticeships are – and how these should operate,” said Sherry. “It’s very encouraging to hear the Prime Minister speaking exactly the same language – and putting the weight of Government behind apprenticeships.” David Cameron’s speech outlined the two critical aspects of apprenticeships and pre-employment training which are at the forefront of the National Skills Academy for Logistics’ mission. The first is the benefit to the country. As David Cameron said, “Britain is in a global race…if we want to succeed in this global race, we have to invest in our number one resource: which is our people”.

The second benefit is more personal – that individuals benefit materially from learning. Says Sherry, “Education is the key to not just one door, but to hundreds. It fundamentally alters the options available to someone.” Sherry also concurs with the Government’s stance that apprenticeships be employer-led. “We need control for how people learn to be placed into the hands of employers.

This is something in which the National Skills Academy for Logistics firmly believes. That’s why we work with employers when creating pre-employment training and apprenticeships, to make sure that each programme is bespoke and directly aligned to the employer’s needs.” The Government is expected to formally respond to the Richard Review later this week. Peter Sherry is looking forward to the Government’s official response.

He believes that the review “paves the way forward for apprenticeships to be at the heart of business learning. Concludes Sherry, “Apprenticeships have a noble history and a place in the heart of many people. The Richard Review is an excellent piece of work which outlines some great principles for helping them meet the needs of tomorrow.” About the National Skills Academy for Logistics The mission of the National Skills Academy for Logistics is to both champion and enable skills development in the UK’s logistics sector, working in partnership with logistics companies, organisations which have logistics needs – and with Government.

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Share Follow Get updates from National Skills Academy for Logistics Track This release listed on Company profile The National Skills Academy for Logistics works in partnership with logistics providers and other organisations with logistics needs, Government, logistics full company profile Media contact Peter Sherry +44 (0)7713 146748 Contact Peter Sherry

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