Military Intelligence Readiness Command Soldiers and family members attended a Building Strong and Ready Teams event held June 23 – 25.
Building Strong and Ready Teams is a command directed, chaplain led, community partnered effort that strengthens spiritual readiness for Soldiers of all ranks and their families. This program was previously known as Strong Bonds.
The MIRC’s event took place over a weekend which allowed entire families to attend.
Chaplain (1st. Lt.) Carlos Joel Venezario served as an event organizer and presented materials in many of the small group settings. “The Army’s goal here is to provide tools and resources to build ready teams by maintaining the support that Soldiers have back at home. Being able to feed that and strengthen that is what's very important.”
Venezario explained that while the program has a spiritual component, no sessions are mandatory.
He also touched on what others believe they know about Building Strong and Ready Teams events. “I definitely like to address the stigmas people may have about these weekends. A lot of people think that these events are for people with broken marriages, or broken families. And that is not the case. Sure, people may need some help, or maybe need some resources coming in. But the majority of people coming here, they're not broken. They're people who want tools to better themselves.”
Venezario’s wife, Kendra Adams-Venezario, also helped lead the event. “This program contributes to the longevity of careers and the resiliency of families. You know, the military has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. The struggle that comes with moving so often and being separated from your support group and, all of that, it's trying on anybody.”
Adams-Venezario is working on a master’s degree in dispute resolution and has received training from the Army. This was the second time Adams-Venezario assisted in leading an event.
Her background and experiences as a military spouse informed her perspective and enhanced implementation of the program. “We're teaching active choices. That's all rooted in psychology. The course was written by a licensed psychologist and Family Therapist, the information that's included in it is all supported by psychological and scientific research. We talk about the impact of these things on marriage and the types of tools that work, the things that you do that harm your marriage and the things you can do that heal it.”
Nine couples attended the event. The program also included hotel lodging, childcare and meals. Venezario-Adams touted the event design. “Being able to provide that kind of support for families, and to give them the opportunity to spend time together, and to improve their relationships with one another, I think, is really beneficial.”
Spc. Anna Negm, a budget analyst working in the MIRC G8, attended with her husband Mike and young son. Negm agreed that the event provided value for her family. “It's a perfect setup, because as a lot of people who are here, we are also busy. This is a great way for us to spend our weekend while we do something for us as a couple. And yet we have our child here who's having a great time with his friends. And then we reunite and still have that family time during the weekend. It's perfect.”
Mike added, “We were able to check so many boxes, and attend this training really for a happier, healthier home. It's going to benefit all of us. We wouldn't have been able to attend without the childcare provided.”