SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The 63rd Readiness Division held their latest Strong Bonds event for single Soldiers, married couples and families, April 26-28, at the Embassy Suites, Scottsdale, Arizona, in an effort to guide all sets of participants into establishing better relationships and life goals.
The Strong Bonds program uses teaching techniques, which utilizes an Army approved curriculum and is facilitated by Chaplains from the Army Reserve.
Leading the single Soldiers program was Chaplain (Maj.) Adrian Obrian, Strong Bonds program manager, 63rd RSC, who tries to teach primarily younger Army Reserve Soldiers to plan for their futures and develop their own unique presence.
“A lot of young kids in the Army don’t have much direction and they don’t know how to plan for the future,” Obrian said. “We teach them seven habits training, which helps them develop positive habits in order to achieve their goals.”
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Soldiers training is divided up into three parts and includes taking a young Soldier who is dependent on somebody and making them rely on their own accord, he said.
“We take them from the first stage of survival mode, to snapping out of that mode and moving to the stability phase, where you start to really enjoy life,” Obrian explained. “Then they can start planning their education, going to college, or even having a family.”
As they move through the rest of the stages, the Soldiers gradually become more self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses, he said.
“The success and significant phases are where they realize it’s not how much money you make, it’s what you leave behind. It’s what you want written on your tombstone, so to speak,” Obrian summarized.
The reception to the training is uniformly excellent, he said, with Soldiers leaving understanding what they need to change the direction of their lives.
“By putting their plan in writing it helps them improve or develop that habit. Their plan is just for them and nobody else,” Obrian said. “By the end of the training they know where they are, where they want to be and they know how to get there.”
Attending the married couple portion of the event was Chaplain (1st Lt.) Michael Callahan, 304th Sustainment Brigade, and his wife Sarah, both of whom expressed their enthusiasm for the event.
“We wanted to experience what this is all about and have an opportunity to learn and grow in our relationship,” Michael said. “On the civilian side I’m a pastor and always looking for resources. As an Army chaplain I’ll also have to lead these events. So I’m looking to get the most out of it as possible.”
Sarah said she loved the chance to be alongside other married Army Reserve couples and their families, all of whom have similar experiences.
“We still have a lot to learn, even after 13 years of marriage and it’s been enjoyable to relate to others like us through the classes,” Sarah said. “I can definitely relate to a lot of what’s been taught.”
Michael said he hopes to take back valuable lessons from the training and teach them to those in his ministry.
“It’s easy to fall back into old habits and patterns in your relationship, but we want to make our marriage a priority, even after 13 years,” he said. “What we’re learning today is essential in doing just that.”
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