Ever heard the phrase “back in my day” or “when it was good”? Strong Bonds is one of those programs that has evolved as the Army as evolved. Back in my day, we had three-day events at resort style hotels, family members were compensated for travel, food, and everything else.
The idea was to reignite the marriage, help single Soldiers learn to communicate, and allow families to bond. As we move into FY21 the world has changed, the army has changed, and how we do business has changed. Strong Bonds has moved from the Readiness Division level, down to the commands to manage and conduct events.With these changes, Strong Bonds continues to be an effective tool to help with personal growth and development. Chaplains in the formation are offering financial, communication, marriage, and numerous other forms of training that target the needs of your unit. Yes, the luxury element of this training has decreased, but there are still options available to cover any cost associated with the training and your attendance. Whether you “need” this training or you just desire to be proactive in yourself or your marriage, contact your chaplain today to inquire about available events in your area.
The types of events… Most of you are familiar with the Charlie event, which is the offsite, 2-3 day style event. This is still an available event. The guidelines associated with funding and execution have reduced the overall allowable spending, so the picture of this type of event you might have is likely going to be on a much smaller scale. The next event is the Bravo, which includes 8 hours of associated training. Additionally there is an Alpha event that consist of 4 hours of training. New this FY is the optional virtual Strong Bonds program. Any of the in- person events can be conducted at the unit or offsite and can be staggered over several interactions (example: An Alpha event conducted over 4 battle assemblies, 1 hour session each).
As you read this you might be asking, what really changed? The changes, aside from the mentioned funding and management of the program, are an increase in command participation, creative approaches to training, and a focus on more junior Soldiers. Commanders, this program is an opportunity for you to invest in your Soldiers by supporting their request to attend, both in time and money, by using RST, AT, and other types of orders. These changes allow for both the chaplain and the commander to plan and execute an effective form of training to BA weekends, AT training, and other scenarios.
The 108th Training Command Chaplain’s office will be hosting five events throughout the command. Additional events will be created as interest grows. Please contact your chaplain to inquire about events, signing up, ideas, or questions.
98th DIV – Bravo Event, Fort Benning, GA on 19FEB2021
95th DIV – Bravo Event, Fort Sill, OK on 16APR2021
104th DIV – Bravo Event, JBLM on 04JUN2021
108th CMD – Bravo Event, Charlotte, NC on 30AUG2021
Charlie Event TBD location (based on interest), on 24JUL2021