By Pfc. Tiffany MitchellDecember 13, 2018
10th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers participated in a 3-day Strong Bonds Single Soldiers Training Event 16-18 Nov. at Niagara Falls, New York. The purpose of the Strong Bonds training is to help young Soldiers build resiliency by developing positive ways to deal with social, financial, family, relationship and spiritual issues.
"The Single Soldiers Program is specifically designed to help Soldiers navigate through life financially, socially and emotionally, separating from families as a young adult," said 1st Lt. Jonathan Yarbrough, chaplain of 1-10 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 10th CAB.
"I think that it's very important for Soldiers to go and seek out these events because it gives them an opportunity outside of regular classroom training to work with other soldiers through problems," said Yarbrough. "The military is very big on working through issues together as a team and not feeling singled out."
These events are not only designed for Soldiers to grow as individuals, but also as part of group with other Soldiers whom they may not know. Their main objectives are to improve resiliency, teamwork and grow in areas that they may be struggling with in both their civilian and military lives.
"One thing to take away from this event I would say would be for Soldiers to think about their future more," said Yarbrough. "It seems that a lot of young Soldiers don't plan ahead as much, so we want to challenge them more by asking questions like 'What are your goals for the next six months or a year?''
Many Soldiers attending the training were under 21 and making the transition to adulthood, helping them grow and mature is part of a chaplains job, said Yarbrough.
The training consisted of group discussions about stress management techniques and interactive team building exercises that are designed to motivate Soldiers to work together to solve common life issues.
For Spc. Asia Lucas, a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic from 2-10 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 10th CAB, the training was an eye opener.
"I really enjoyed the hands-on, team building exercises, because I've never experienced that before," said Lucas. "Overall, the training was excellent and I've learned new ways to improve myself as a Soldier."
Strong Bonds Single Soldiers Training Events also give Soldiers the opportunity to branch out and connect with others in their unit.
"The biggest takeaway from the training is the social aspect because normally I'm not a very outgoing," said Pfc. Dillen Blanton, an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Repairer from 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th CAB. "I liked coming to this, because it gets me out of my comfort zone."
Pvt. Rance Harmon, a Chinook Mechanic from 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th CAB, had a similar experience with the training.
"The training overall was really good," said Harmon. "I'm definitely an introvert so this event helped me come out of my shell a little bit."
Learning how to help out family and friends by asking the right questions and knowing how to structure them is what stood out the most, said Harmon.
Soldiers also had the opportunity to visit Niagara falls.
"Niagara Falls is a great place to go," said Blanton. "It's definitely worth signing up for one of these events, because it helps you to get out and travel."
"I will be back for next event, because this was an amazing experience," said Lucas. "I believe that all Soldiers should sign up not only to learn how to be better Soldiers but to also become better people."