RING State Chaplain
The mission of the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps is to provide religious support to America's Army. Chaplains advise commanders to ensure the 'free exercise' rights for all Soldiers are upheld - including those who hold no faith. Chaplains perform religious support activities according to their faith and conscience and provide religious support of other faith groups by coordinating with another chaplain or qualified individual to perform the support needed. At the unit level, a chaplain and Religious Affairs Specialist Non Commissioned Officer form a Unit Ministry Team, or UMT, and are embedded throughout all three components of the Army -- Active, Guard and Reserve.
CH (Lt. Col.) Tim Bourquin
Fulltime Support Chaplain
Rhode Island National Guard
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.
Strong Bonds is conducted in an offsite retreat format in order to maximize the training effect. The retreat or “get away” provides a fun, safe, and secure environment in which to address the impact of relocations, deployments, and military lifestyle stressors.
Recognizing the importance of family support, the Army introduced the program Building Strong and Ready Families in 1997. Initially, 90 active-duty couples participated in four events. Over the past year, more than 130,000 Soldiers and Family members have participated in over 3,700 Strong Bonds events. The program’s success has led to increased funding, expansion Army-wide, and more training options.
New programs now meet Soldiers at different phases of the relationship cycle. Specific training is offered for the Single Soldier, Couples, Families with children, and all Soldiers and Families facing deployment.
Strong Bonds is fully-funded and Chaplain-led with the support of the Commanding Officer. Soldiers and their Families attend with others in the unit who share the same deployment cycle. During the retreat, Soldiers and Families participate in small group activities that reveal common bonds and nurture friendships. This shores up spousal support at home, which can be vitally important while the Soldier is away. In addition, Soldiers and Families gain awareness of community resources that can assist with concerns about health and wellness, even crisis intervention.
An increasing percentage of recruits come from Army Families. Strong Bonds Family program is an investment in Army Families and in the Future Force.
About 50 percent of the Army’s Soldiers are single and most will get married while on active duty. If you’re a single Soldier, you may also be far from home, lonely, and faced with the uncertainty of imminent deployment. These pressures can lead to hasty decision‑making when choosing a life partner.
A supportive mate is extremely important — so the Army is committed to helping you learn how to make good relationship choices by offering the Strong Bonds Single Soldier program. With this program, you and other Soldiers from your unit will attend training off‑site for a retreat weekend. In addition to relevant teaching and skills training, Strong Bonds weekends include time for relaxation, recreation, fellowship, and fun.
Strong Bonds programs are offered by Army Chaplains with the full support of your Commanding Officer. You’ll gain practical, useful information based on a nationally recognized curriculum that’s been carefully chosen. You’ll learn to examine priorities, manage mate‑choosing patterns, and learn to evaluate a relationship’s potential for long‑term success.
The Strong Bonds Single Soldier program is designed to help you establish relationship goals and gain essential skills to help you make a good choice prior to picking a partner for life.
Whether you’ve celebrated one anniversary or twenty, as an Army couple you can anticipate more excitement — and expect more challenges — than the average civilian couple. Long separations, frequent relocations, and the stress of deployment can subject Army marriages to extreme hardship.
That’s why we developed the Strong Bonds Couples program. It’s our way of saying thank you for the sacrifices you and your Family make every day as members of the world’s premier fighting force. And, because we understand the stresses of military life, we want to serve you through an off‑post, Strong Bonds weekend retreat. You and others from your unit will gain skills that fortify your marriage and enjoy a time of relaxation, recreation, fellowship, and fun.
Strong Bonds programs are offered by Army Chaplains with the full support of your Commanding Officer. You’ll gain practical, useful information based on world‑class curriculum developed from years of research. In small groups, you’ll participate in activities that renew bonds with your peers. And, as a couple, you’ll participate in communication and relationship-building skills, as well as share intimate moments.
The Strong Bonds Couples weekend retreat is designed to strengthen relationships, inspire hope and rekindle marriages — even start the journey of healing for relationships under fire.
From diapers and night feedings to recitals and soccer games, the responsibilities of child-rearing can be especially difficult for military Families. Daily routine can become overwhelming when Families are faced with long separations, frequent relocations, and deployment. That’s why we developed the Strong Bonds Family program. It’s our way of saying thank you for the sacrifices your Family makes every day.
We understand the unique stresses of military life, so we want to serve your Family through an off‑post, Strong Bonds weekend retreat. Children 8 years old and over may participate in most exercises of the Strong Bonds Family program. Your family and others from your unit will gain skills to help sustain healthy interactions throughout the trials of Army life. In addition to relevant teaching and skills training, there is time for relaxation, recreation, fellowship, and fun.
Strong Bonds programs are offered by Army Chaplains with the full support of your Commanding Officer. You’ll gain practical, useful information based on curriculum designed especially for military Families. Through small group and one-on-one activities, Family members learn how to maintain closeness during frequent relocation, long separations, and repeated reunions.
Despite the stress of military life, Army Families inspire their children to carry on the tradition.
It is undeniable — the Global War on Terrorism has compounded the trials of routine separation that Army life has always entailed. The recent, perpetual cycle of deployment and redeployment, in and out of combat, has placed especially difficult burdens on all Family relationships.
Soldiers frequently struggle with transition from battlefield to home front, and their Families struggle to adjust to disrupted routines and the challenges of reintegration and reconnection. The Strong Bonds Pre- and Redeployment Program is designed to help single Soldiers, couples, and Families cope with this struggle. The program is offered through an off-site weekend retreat. In addition to relevant teaching and skills training, Strong Bonds weekends include time for relaxation, recreation, fellowship, and fun.
Strong Bonds programs are offered by Army Chaplains with the full support of your Commanding Officer. You’ll attend with others from your unit and gain practical, useful information based on material designed especially for Soldiers and Families. Through small group and individual activities, you’ll learn how to transition more effectively from separation to togetherness.
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