89th MP Bde. Strong Bonds Retreat directs Single Soldiers
Staff Sgt. Cody Harding, 14th PADLAMPASAS - Soldiers from the 89th Military Police Brigade traveled to Tyson’s Corner in Lampasas to attend a three-day Single Soldiers Strong Bonds Retreat June 27-29.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Retired Chaplain Gary Tyson and his daughter Joanna host these retreats to give Soldiers a way to relax while learning valuable relationship advice from various guests. While some of their retreats focus on married couples, this retreat was directed specifically toward single Soldiers.
This retreat marked the last for Chap. Lt. Col. Brian Crane, 89th MP Bde. Chaplain, as he will soon be moving to Fort Hood’s 13th Sustainment (Expeditionary) Support Command. He has coordinated several of these retreats in the past, and discussed how the training will help strengthen relationships to endure the stress of Army life for Single Soldiers.
“Most people would never think to go to a retreat, even if someone else is paying for it,” Crane said. “Too often people wait until there’s a crisis before they’ll do anything.”
Donna McKellar, one of the retreat counselors, instructed the first course of the retreat: ‘The Five Love Languages for Singles’.
First, the Soldiers completed a survey to determine their love language – each of which McKellar defined afterward. She then discussed how the love languages illustrate how people show their affection and how this can influence a relationship.
Later, the Soldiers went through the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program, which allowed them to interact with horses on the ranch. Like people, each horse had a different personality and reaction to the Soldiers. This allowed Soldiers to gauge how their behaviors and actions affect others in non-verbal ways.
Joanna, assistant director of the Tyson’s Corner Retreat and head of the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program, said that she started the program when she found that she had to adjust to each horse’s personality.
“It actually became a really good self-reflection tool for me,” Tyson said.” I started seeing how similar the process was when building relationships with these horses to building relationships with people in my life.”
The final class led by Chap. (Capt.) Rob Cook, Phantom Battalion Family Life Chaplain, was about how different personalities can affect relationships. The survey graded the Soldiers’ personalities based on their self-descriptions to show how they would react in certain situations. Cook gave tips for each personality type that ranged from financial advice to finding a significant other.
The retreat culminated with a final discussion led by Gary over the lessons taught during the past few days, including the importance of communication, personality traits and the Five Love Languages. On a combat-weathered force, these lessons and communication skills can make a world of difference as troops return home and struggle to reintegrate with their loved ones.