By - Sgt. Frank Vaughn, 99th Regional Support Command Chaplain's OfficeFebruary 8, 2011
Niagara Falls, N.Y., Jan 30,2011 - The chaplain's office of 99th Regional Support Command hosted a Strong Bonds family enrichment retreat in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Jan. 28-30.
This retreat, one of more than 40 scheduled for fiscal year 2011 in the 99th RSC 13-state area, focused on family communication, cooperation and values-sharing.
Capt. Rafael Urbina, operations officer for the 78th Training Division, said the skills he learned were valuable in preparing his family for possible future deployments.
"My 11-year-old son, Diego, is getting into the process of becoming a teenager," said Urbina, who is stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. "This helped me realize I need to talk more with my kid and the things I learned here will especially be helpful to my family if I ever have to deploy again."
Urbina said the concept he values most from this retreat is how to build a home with the skills of listening, speaking effectively and cooperation among all family members. He also stressed the importance of passing on values to his son.
"We have Army values instilled in us as Soldiers," the 16-year Army veteran said. "I want to pass those same values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage on to my son."
In addition to communication concepts and the importance of values in a family, this retreat also emphasized the importance of family cohesion.
Master Sgt. Manuel Jiminez, assistant inspector general for Army Medical Command, said his family needed to re-emphasize togetherness in the aftermath of his recent deployment to Baghdad.
"I just came back in July of last year," said Jiminez, who resides in Tampa, Fla. "I felt we needed training to bring the family back together after being apart for so long."
The issue of values is also important to Jiminez. While his family has always had shared values, Jiminez said he felt they needed to be more intentional in their emphasis.
"One thing I realize from attending this retreat is that we need to talk about values on a schedule," said Jiminez, who has served 21 years in the Army. "We need to make time on our calendar every week to talk about issues and how our values affect the decisions we make."
Jiminez also found value in the process of attending this retreat.
"I wanted to do the family event so we could travel together and go through the whole experience together," Jiminez said.
Together. Values. Family. The 99th RSC Strong Bonds family enrichment retreats exist to promote all three.
If you are interested in attending a Strong Bonds family retreat, please contact Sgt. Juan Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 562-7715.