Special Forces retreat teaches families resilience during deployment

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 03:38 PM.

"This Strong Bonds program helped soldiers and spouses ...  understand how to thrive in their marriages and resolve problems," said group spokesman Capt. Thomas Cieslak, an Auburn resident who participated in the program with his family.

While parents were in adults-only seminars or attending a Valentine's Day "date night," their children were in a childcare program geared specifically to military dependents.

Family activities included games on the beach, meals and a church service. Wadas said his daughters liked the childcare program so much, "they were upset when we had to pull them out to go to the beach!"

The bonding opportunity was particularly meaningful, he said.

"With a teenage daughter and another verging on the edge of 'tween' status, it was important to me to make sure I’m ahead of the game when it comes to being a good husband and father," Wadas said.  

Making the most of time together

"One thing we've seen in the Army is being more intentional in helping soldiers build relationships in their families, and it makes them more resilient when they have to face the challenges of being separated," Ramey said.

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