By Maj. Peter BogartApril 3, 2019
Army training events usually involve PowerPoint briefings or field training exercises but several hundred Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division have taken part in training that involves touring Charleston, S.C. and relaxing pool side at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C. as part of the brigade strong bonds program.
"My favorite part of the retreat was getting out of the barracks and getting to know people outside of a work environment," said Cpl. Juyeon Yoo, a medic with 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, who attended a single Soldiers retreat in Charleston. "The scheduled activities were fun but also only took about six hours of the weekend so we had plenty of time to visit the city."
During the first three months of 2019, the Raider Brigade executed eight Strong bonds events and already have four scheduled for April through June. The locations for upcoming events are still not finalized but in addition to the trips already mentioned, retreats this year have been held in Jacksonville, Fla, and Hilton Head, S.C. said Staff Sgt. Daniel Eloi, the 1ABCT Religious Affairs NCOIC.
Retreats are normally held as battalion events and are for either single Soldiers or married couples. The unit ministry team from the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment is expanding the scope of their retreats to include single parents and will be opening the event up to single parents from across the brigade.
"We have always done singles, couples, or families, but this time we are going to target Single Soldiers with dependents," said Chaplain (Capt.) Abram Staten, 1-41 FA. "It will be a great time to spend with your child or children without the stress of paying a babysitter or worrying about the cost."
Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program designed to strengthen the Army Family through relationship education and skills training. Retreats are conducted off post to provide a fun, safe, and secure environment.
"We are not going to change your life or marriage in three days but our hope is that the training and time you will spend with your spouse will start the effect of improving your relationship" said Staten. "Plus the Army is paying for you to relax and how often does that happen, it's worth the experience for that reason alone."