Chaplains encourage couples, single Soldiers to attend Strong Bonds
Sgt. Windsor and Shalanda Corbin practice communication techniques during a previous Strong Bonds event. The next Strong Bonds conference for active duty service members, their spouses and single Soldiers is set at the Vandiver Inn Bed and Breakfast in Havre de Grace Aug. 1 to 3.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground's Chaplain Services is planning an all-expenses paid, three-day, two-night training conference for married couples and single Soldiers at the Vandiver Inn Bed and Breakfast in Havre de Grace Aug. 1 to 3.

The Strong Bonds conference is an Army-wide conference for active duty military, their spouses and single Soldiers.

The Strong Bonds conference was designed to help Soldiers deal with communication issues and the stress of a modern-day military at war.

"The United States Congress set aside funds for Strong Bonds Army-wide to build the Family Army Strong,"said Chaplain (Maj.) Fred Townsend, APG chaplain resource manager. "They know that Army Strong equals strong Families, and one does not occur without the other. This is a gift back to the Soldiers and their Families for the sacrifices that they make."

The Strong Bonds program, which has been offered at APG since 2008, has expanded to address the needs of single Soldiers. According to, about 50 percent of the Army's Soldiers are single and most will get married while on active duty. The Strong Bonds program teaches Soldiers how to examine priorities, manage mate choosing patterns and how to evaluate a relationship's potential for long-term success.

"We want to break through the mindset that this training is just for married couples," Townsend said. "This training is very useful for singles. It will teach them what mistakes to avoid and how to be better communicators."

During the conference, attendees will view the "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" DVD seminar featuring Mark Gungor, which addresses all issues concerning life, love and marriage in a humorous, yet insightful way. Chaplains will also lead group discussions and participants will take some online self assessments.

"I believe that anyone can benefit from this conference," Townsend said. "It will give participants a better understanding of who they are, their spiritual DNA."

Townsend added that earlier this year the chapel provided the seminar on a monthly basis to civilian couples.

"We had a great turn out," he said. "They loved it."

"Men typically don't want to come to marriage training," said the Main Post Chapel's noncommissioned officer in charge Sgt. 1st Class Elijah Mack, who will also serve as an instructor during the seminar. "Mark Gungor uses humor to break down the walls. This seminar reaches out to men and women and gets them thinking."

Soldiers who decide to attend the conference must request "Permissive TDY" by completing a DA31 Form, submitted through their chain-of-command. To register, call Joyce Wood at 410-278-4333. A confirmed registration packet will not be handed out until a signed copy of DA 31 Form is provided and an "Agreement to Attend" is signed in person at the Main Post Chapel, building 2485.

Page last updated Thu July 12th, 2012 at 16:20