Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang
BREMERTON, Washington – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held another session of its ongoing Sailor mentorship program, ‘Rudder Shift,’ Oct. 19.
Rudder Shift is a voluntary mentorship program conducted by the religious ministries department that features members of the Chiefs Mess sharing their life experiences with junior enlisted experiencing difficulties in their professional or personal lives.
The program started in March and due its success, has gone from being held once a month to every two weeks.
“A lot of the Sailors who have come to Rudder Shift have come back to talk to us and their motivation has increased,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Warren Brown, from Houston, a Rudder Shift speaker. “We continue to have conversations with them about how they can better their careers and their lives. I think the program is a great success.”
Each session features a handful of speakers who address a small group of Sailors.
“When I was in the Navy at a young age, I would just constantly get in trouble,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrish Bilbrey, from Lafayette, Tennessee. “Had someone shared a story with me … I might have felt like I had someone I could relate to and look up to.”
Bilbrey emphasized empathy as a focus of Rudder Shift.
“If we can understand that each of us has a specific struggle and story, and we share those things instead of being angry about it and angry at one another then we would just have a better environment altogether,” said Bilbrey.
The goal of the program is to encourage Sailors to take initiative in changing in their lives for the better.
“One thing that I always tell Sailors is that a small course change will get them pointed in the right direction,” said Brown “If they can just find one little thing they can improve on, and that may be being on time, or being respectful regardless of the situation … something as small as that will help them get back on course.”