MISSIONFORWARD: An atypical conference setting for building mental resilience.

4 mins read

Thru 2019, I’ve had an idea for an event. It started as a camp. Then, a camp for parents. Finally, I’ve landed on it. A conference for first responders where we can wrestle with resilience – on and off the mats.

Go to the conference website: here.

MISSIONFORWARD is the first project for SIXFEET as a registered not-for-profit organization. Meanwhile, the platform itself has been picking up steam. That’s exactly the way I figured it would be best to run something like this – start by building a platform based on solid information, community involvement and then start executing on programs with impact.

Envisioning a conference, I brought this to my advisors – now directors on the board for SIXFEET – and was offered the following advice; front line people probably don’t want a suit-and-tie affair.


I think there’s room for semi-formal engagement, where continuing education for first responders and adjacent communities are concerned. But, I also figure the industry is ready for something new. Before we go any further here, there’s value in fully documenting what that might mean.

Adjacent communities.

Casting a wide net, MISSIONFORWARD aims to provide actionable resiliency tools to first responders, active duty military and adjacent communities. If you’re working in emergency environments – we want to give you techniques to help manage the human reactions your work can produce within you, your peers and the people you serve.

That’s the thing; we too often hope our personnel will build the requisite mental fortitude out of time spent in the field.

But, hope isn’t a good plan.

A recent study conducted by the Canadian Association of Mental Health found that 78% of first responders in British Columbia didn’t have any kind of formal resiliency training. Resilience is the baseline for all continuing operations. It’s the metric that ensures our ability to transition between home life and the field.


SIXFEET is hosting a conference for first responders toward supplying real-world tools our people can use on the front line.

Some of the content we’re bound to have will look like a regular conference, but, let me tell you a little bit about how some of our ideas are aiming at being atypical.

To start, we’re going to have a limited capacity, offsite seminar hosted by Bill Dungey. This seminar will take place at Infinum Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – a local martial arts facility. We’re going to get on the mats and break down some fundamental ideas surrounding grappling. As though we were being physically held down by trauma, this seminar will explore how goal setting, mental rehearsal, tactical breathing and positive self talk can influence our ability to stay in the fight.

During the day, a cohesive conversation will invite participants and speakers to look at hard questions; How do we move our services forward? What can we do this week to execute on this?

Speakers at MISSIONFORWARD are required to bring actionable ideas to the conference.

Stay tuned.

The best place to find current information on MISSIONFORWARD, a conference for first responders, is on Instagram. Check in with SIXFEET on IG here – Link.

If you want to apply to present at the conference, shoot an e-mail to Bill here: Link

Bill Dungey is a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, Canada. He is focused on fitness, mindset development and finding training opportunities to help the fire service make things better.

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