06/07/2013 | By Mrs. Jennifer Johnson and Maj. Alex Johnson 104th Training Division (LT), Public Affairs
Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program that assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army Family. The core mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual Soldier and Family member readiness through relationship education and skills training. Courtesy Photo
SEATTLE, Wash. — On March 25, members of the 88th Regional Support Command (RSC) and their partners from all over the United States, gathered here at the Mayflower Park Hotel. Their mission? To increase their relationship resiliency in the turbulence of the military environment.
Led by Chaplain C. Tyler Montgomery, couples gathered to learn to identify personality strengths and how to better communicate love to their spouse and Family members.
Strong Bonds is a voluntary, unit-based, chaplain-led program conducted in an offsite retreat format. Since its inception in 1999, programs focused on singles, couples and Families to help Solider and Family member readiness through relationship education and skills training.
Speaking of the Seattle conference, Kim Solem, a Timberwolf spouse, said, “Our strong bonds weekend forced us to focus on ourselves and our marriage, which is so easy to lose sight of during our busy lives.”
Not all couples or Family members are in an emotional place to begin to address core issues in their relationship. The retreat or “get away” provides a fun, safe, and secure environment in which participants chose their level of involvement. Singles, couples or Families attending the same conference often learn different insights into how to improve their own situation.
Jennifer Bolding says, “Strong Bonds has been a wonderful experience. I have learned more about myself and about my partner...I now have more skills to communicate.”
It is common in the Army Reserve for spouses or Family members to feel alienated from the military culture. Strong Bonds allows military-supporting individuals to share experiences and learn strategies to make meaningful connections with each other.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Koszuta, 88th RSC also attended, “My wife and I have been together for 34 years. There’s always room for reflection. No matter where you are in your marriage, brand new, midway through or in your golden years, there’s always something to learn, there’s always something to share with your spouse. The Strong Bonds program builds a strong foundation for those times you’re apart.”
Strong Bonds offers three programs:
- The Marriage Enrichment Retreat is for married Army couples and seeks to strengthen the marital bond through marriage education, better communication and relationship enhancement.
- The Single Soldier Life Enrichment Retreat focuses on helping single Soldiers develop skills necessary to learn decision-making, goal-setting and relationship-enhancement skills in a very interactive environment.
- The Military Family Enrichment Retreat helps military Families work together, with the focus on skills that help the Military Family stay strong.
While the military life puts great pressures on the Family environment, the Army Reserve Command believes this program is important enough to maintain funding. Recently, funds for the Active Duty Strong Bonds Program expired.
The core mission of the Strong Bonds Program is to increase individual Soldier and Family member readiness through relationship education and skills training.
The retreat or “get away” provides a fun, safe, and secure environment in which to address the impact of relocations, deployments, and military lifestyle stressors. The program is available to all.
Attendees voluntarily participate in a Strong Bonds offsite retreat format designed to maximize relationship training impact. For more information on the Strong Bonds Program visit www.strongbonds.org or spend a few minutes visiting with your chaplain.