Fort Knox escape room provides unique training experience

Sexual assault response coordinator Ella Foley demonstrates to garrison leadership one of the activities participants in the 2022 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, escape room will be exposed to during training.

Soldiers and civilians working at Fort Knox now have an unconventional and interactive training tool aimed at eliminating instances of sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Sexual assault response coordinator Ella Foley developed an escape room dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP).

“The Garrison SHARP escape room challenge is an interactive and innovative training that reinforces critical SHARP knowledge and skills,” Foley said. “It encourages people to have open, healthy dialogues, as well as the opportunity to connect and work together as a team for a common cause.”

Each year soldiers and civilian employees at Fort Knox undergo training on the importance of SHARP and how to prevent and report sexual harassment and assault. Foley said this year, she wanted to do things differently.

“This is not your usual slideshow presentation,” she said. “In that type of training, the facilitators do most of the talking. With this, everyone works together as a team to complete the activities.

“It creates unity,” she added.

Garrison Commander Col. Lance O’Bryan and Command Sgt. Maj. William Fogle attended the ribbon cutting for the escape room Monday. Fogle said he felt the design was very impactful.

“It’s very creative; very outside of the box,” Fogle said. “I like the activities. I think it will be educational.”

O’Bryan and Fogle, along with several other installation leaders, toured the escape room and went through the activities, which include a word search, crossword and other puzzles. Fogle said having the interactive training this year has potential for greater success.

“Together we can set conditions to address or eliminate the destructive behaviors that lead to sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Fogle said. “This makes me extremely happy because it takes everybody on this entire installation to get this issue out of our footprint.”

Foley said the escape room idea grew out of some of her prior work.

“I’ve done the same kind of concept, but on a very small scale,” she said. “I didn’t have all of the resources that I have today.”

According to Foley, the layout specifically was constructed in such a way that it has the most effect.

“What is good about this is that it’s an experiential training, which means you experience something, you will remember it,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to have this type of training this year.”

Over the course of the next several weeks, at least 10 teams from around the garrison will go through the escape room. Foley said she hopes not only will it teach participants all the aspects of SHARP, but also provide something even more important.

“If I’m someone who has had an issue, now having gone through the escape room with my team, I might have the courage to talk to my supervisor about what’s happening,” she said. “It empowers everyone and helps them feel supported.”

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