SACRAMENTO, N.M. -- Soldiers of Division West's 402nd Field Artillery Brigade recently took to the mountains for a course on Family bonding and some recreation time here.

Nestled in the mountains of Lincoln National Forest at the Sacramento Methodist Assembly lodge, 20 Families embarked on a chaplain-led Strong Bonds weekend without cell phone reception, televisions and Internet.

"At first, I was, like, 'huh!', but at the same time, it's needed," said Tiffany Hobson, wife of Mosley Hobson, operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge with 2nd Battalion, 362nd Regiment. "We are enjoying being husband and wife. Sometimes you get so caught up, you forget. It's good to have time for just (my Family.)"

The absence of technological distractions helped people focus on spending time with Family, said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Cline of the brigade's 3rd Engineer Battalion, 410th Regiment. "Here, we can't go to the room and watch television, so let's go play volleyball or go hiking."

While recreating was a big part of the retreat, the Strong Bonds program also incorporates classroom instruction during which Families learn to strengthen bonds and Family ties using self-reflection and positive communication techniques. The material was titled "7 Habits for Army Families," but the theme presented to the class was how actions speak louder than words.

"Forget what lies behind," said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Gary Williams, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade chaplain. "It's about moving forward."

Mrs. Hobson said some things especially hit home for her and her husband.

"We have always had Family goals, but you when you write them down on a piece of paper, you see how things have changed and how they haven't," Mrs. Hobson said. "Time is going by. The kids are growing up real fast."

"It makes you think about how (responsibility) has to be on you," said Sgt. 1st Class Mosley. "Think for you and what you have to work on."

Even in the rain, Families participated in the Challenge Course, which involved zip lining, wall climbing, and a swing tied high in the trees.

The only responsibility guests had was to be in class when classes were in session.

"It's an opportunity to force me to communicate with my spouse without distraction," Sgt. 1st Class Hobson said.

"The facilities were nice, and the people here were accommodating," Cline said. "I'm glad I brought my family."