Turning laughter into a resilience tool

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Spencer Tobler
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Everyone loves laughter, whether it’s used for therapeutic reasons or to lighten the mood in a room. BJ Lange, Air Force Wounded Warrior program comedy coach, turned laughter into a resiliency tool for Airmen with his ‘Improv to Improve’ class held here, Dec. 11-14.  

‘Improv to Improve’ is an improvisation comedy resiliency class that engages military members in a safe interactive learning environment to combat life stress and build resilience in an unconventional way.

 “Col. Blackwell brought me here as a means to find a fun and exciting way to challenge people in a safe setting,” said Lange. “Using laughter therapy to connect with one another is an avenue that had not been explored yet.”

During the class Lange had groups of Airmen play various games to learn about each other, step out of their comfort zone and have fun. Theory exercises and games such as ‘Zip, Zap, Zow’, Thunderdome, and Kitty Cat Career, all highlighted different professional development tactics and strengthened the attendees’ life skills.

“Although I brought BJ out to help work on our communication, he ended up teaching us so much more than that,” said Col. Heather Blackwell, 81st Training Wing commander. “He taught us the importance of creating a safe space, being yourself and stepping outside your comfort zone. He taught us the value of laughing and having a little bit of fun, in our uniform.”

Even though Lange isn’t in the Air Force anymore, he is happy to still be there for his brothers and sisters in arms in a different way.

“Even though I can’t put on my uniform right now, I still feel like I’m taking care of my brothers and sisters,” said Lange. “The reason why I do this is because it’s my heart and soul, it means so much to me and if I can find a way to showcase some benefits to service members through the things that I love doing than why wouldn’t I do it?”

The culture Keesler is building puts action behind the concerns of people who voice their opinions.

“The endeavor to create a culture of empowerment and resilience will be on going,” said Blackwell. “I definitely hope BJ comes out again to help us learn, helps us grow and help us laugh.”