Over the weekend of Oct. 11-13, various Troopers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, participated in a Strong Bonds event. This Strong Bonds event was hosted by Capt. (CH) Ronald Marshall, 1st Squadron, 11th ACR Chaplain. This event teaches Troopers, single or married, life lessons that they can incorporate in their current or future lifestyles. After arriving at the event location, Delta Hotels by Marriott in Garden Grove, Calif.; Troopers received their hotel room keys and were released for an hour before having to return for the first session of their class before being released for the night.
The first session began around 6 p.m., and involved the teachings of the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The five love languages include Words of Affirmation, Gift Giving, Acts of service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Learning these love languages gave Troopers the chance to provide ways to show them how to love without over stepping boundaries. The following morning the Troopers were given a voucher for breakfast which was 7:30-9 a.m. At 9 a.m., all the Troopers participating in the event reported to class for the remaining portion of the session. During this portion of class, Troopers received insight from Chaplain Marshall on how to properly budget their finances. Marshall offered the Troopers time to fill out a budget sheet to calculate how much they typically spend on their wants and needs with their monthly income. One of the lessons he taught about finances was called the “Debt Snowball Method”. The debt snowball method is a debt reduction strategy that involves paying off your smallest debt first then using that payment towards the remaining balance of the next smallest debt.
Following the finances portion of the class, Troopers were offered a period for lunch which was cooked by the hotel’s staff. During this period of lunch Chaplain Marshall had time to sit down and interact with the Troopers and learn more about them. While Chaplain Marshall was engaging with the Troopers he shared stories from his time as a junior enlisted soldier in the United States Military. Some stories were about how he fell hard on times and saw no way out before discovering some lessons that helped him build himself and rise up above his peers. This granted the Chaplain and the Troopers more insight on why they all decided to attend this event and why Chaplain Marshall decided to work with the Strong Bonds Program and incorporate these lessons to the Troopers of the 11th ACR. After lunch, the event continued where Marshall began teaching how to understand the signs of “Jerks and Jerkettes”, and how to avoid either dating or being a Jerk or Jerkette. This portion forced Troopers to work in pairs and engage in conversation explaining their backgrounds to each other and participate in learning games. One of the games consisted of a type of Charades where one Trooper from each group would attempt to act out a certain action or animal. With this game of Charades, Chaplain Marshall explained to the Troopers that you can’t know everything about a certain person just off of one or two conversations. This game taught the Troopers that before judging your partner on how much you think they should know about you, you should understand that learning your partner takes time and effort that can’t be achieved off of two conversations. This formed a sense of comradery amongst the Troopers helping better understand their fellow peers in a way many don’t have the availability too.
Overall the Strong Bonds event for single soldiers was excellent. Not only in the aspect of bringing Troopers together from all walks of life, but for also giving the Troopers lifelong lessons they can incorporate in their lives to not only be an overall better individual but to be a better person in future relationships.