Strong Bonds retreat offers couples skill sets, quality time together

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Story and photos by 1Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Couples attended a Strong Bonds retreat weekend hosted by the Kentucky National Guard Chaplaincy at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, Ky. August 2011. (Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Twenty Kentucky National Guard couples found a little peace and quiet, fellowship and quality time together during a recent marriage retreat conducted by the Kentucky National Guard Chaplaincy on August 19th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville

The Strong Bonds marriage retreat served as a “get away” for Kentucky Army and Air Guard couples, providing a fun, safe, and secure environment where the impact of deployments and military lifestyle stressors were addressed.  The focus of Strong Bonds is to increase individual soldier and family member readiness through relationship education, and skills training in an offsite retreat format in order to maximize the training effect.

Chaplain (Maj.) Bill Draper, state support chaplain for the Kentucky National Guard helped organize the event.

“These retreats show our Soldiers and Airmen that we appreciate the job they do, and that we will not forget the sacrifices,” said Draper.  “It also shows their spouses that we do care about them and their Family.”

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The marriage retreat had much to offer Sgt. Tim Akers and his wife Chiquita. (Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

Couples in attendance come from a diverse background, including many newlyweds and one couple married almost thirty years.

In the military the importance of  communication is understood as something critical to mission success.  However, it is often the first skill and the breakdown in married life.  During the weekend chaplains taught classes covering topics ranging from communication to problem solving which were well very received.

Trina Eller, wife of Sgt. Steve Eller is a believer.  “The weekend taught us some very helpful communication skills,” she said.

The highlight of the weekend for many was the Saturday evening date night.  This scheduled event provides couples some well deserved time together that is often hard to come by back home.

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Sgt. Steve Eller and his wife Trina found the Strong Bonds marriage retreat helpful in developing communications skills. (Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

Sgt. Tim Akers and his wife Chiquita found the retreat beneficial.

“We loved the weekend,” said Chiquita.  “We’re leaving with some useful tools to use in our marriage.”

Strong Bonds attendance is encouraged by Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, who wants every member of the Kentucky National Guard to be aware of the program.

For more information call the state chaplain’s office at 502-607-1729.

Check out these dates if you’re interested in attending.

FY12 Marriage Enrichment Conference Weekend

13Jan – 15Jan Louisville

10Mar – 12Mar Lexington

01Jun – 03Jun Louisville

27Jul – 29Jul Lexington

17Aug – 19Aug Louisville

FY12 Single Soldier Conference Weekend

8Jun – 10Jun Lexington

24Aug – 26Aug Louisville

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