FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- V Corps Soldiers took the opportunity to enrich their personal lives during the chaplain-led single Soldiers Strong Bonds retreat in Mason, Ohio, Aug. 20-23.
The retreat, themed “How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk,” taught Soldiers relationship enhancement with a focus on the importance of picking a future partner that leads to a healthy, sustainable relationship.
The classes were provided in a fun, safe and secure environment away from the post in order to give the Soldiers a break from military lifestyle stressors.
“It is really important, now, to schedule and provide classes like these for Soldiers,” said V Corps Chaplain (Capt.) Brad Wysomierski, a native of Cleveland, Ohio. “The Army wants to make sure we’re putting training and value back into developing healthy relationships.”
The retreat also provides the Soldiers with time to decompress and nurture friendships.
Cpl. Ashanti Bracey from Virginia Beach, Virginia, a religious affairs specialist, unit ministry team, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, V Corps, and the main facilitator of the event, ensured that the event was coordinated in a way that balanced the class lessons with free time for Soldiers.
Event planning started in late June, Bracey said. “We worked hard to incorporate the main activity with plans to provide lodging, food and, most importantly, making sure the Soldiers are comfortable.”
Soldiers signed up to attend the class for many reasons: some wanted to learn new life skills that can benefit their future relationships, others wanted to try a Strong Bonds retreat for the first time and some simply wanted to go somewhere new. Regardless of the reason, the Soldiers that attended the event found it beneficial.
“I learned that making an actual plan for creating close connections with another individual tends to develop a longer lasting bond,” said Spc. Nathaniel Mesa, a native of Franklin Park, Illinois. “Taking a step back and understanding your values can benefit you morally, mentally, and emotionally.”
Chaplain Wysomierski hopes to see more V Corps Soldiers attend more free, fun and educational training opportunities in the future.
“I hope the training will help Soldiers make healthier choices for who and how they date,” said Wysomierski. “Sometimes Soldiers don’t make the right decisions because they don’t have the right tools. Our goal is to teach them how to have a lasting relationship, and to give them the tools to aid their personal endeavors.”
V Corps will continue to provide Soldiers with retreats to better educate them on topics that are essential for personal and relationship development as part of the Army’s People First Initiative.
Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain-led program which 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.