Strong Bonds helps warriors move forward

| April 14, 2011 | 0 Comments
Single Soldiers work on improving themselves during a “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” workshop for Soldiers.

Single Soldiers work on improving themselves during a “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” workshop for Soldiers.

Story and Photos by
Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie
311th Signal Command Public Affairs


HONOLULU — In this fast-paced digital age, what could possibly convince a young single Soldier to put down his or her video game controller or a smart phone long enough to devote time to life planning?

The Army Strong Bonds program has found an answer: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” — for Soldiers.

“Young single Soldiers are often too busy living today’s life to take a step back and ask themselves, ‘What life do I want out of life — long term — and how effective am I as a person?’” said Chaplain (Capt.) Theodore Valcourt, Strong Bonds instructor, 30th Signal Brigade chaplain, 311th Sig. Command. “This training gets them into a different environment to do that, and these principles tie into something the Soldiers can hold onto.

“For singles, that’s important because not only can they hold onto those habits, but also it makes them a better Soldier, and a better future spouse or leader,” Valcourt added.

The chaplains of 311th Signal Command hosted the Beta, or premier test class, Armywide, during a recent Strong Bonds single Soldiers program.

Strong Bonds is a Department of the Army, chaplain-led retreat program during which Soldiers and family members build relationship and individual resiliency through education and skills training. Strong Bonds is broken down into separate marriage, family and single Soldier-themed retreats.

Chaplains and chaplains’ assistants involved with the three-day training agreed unanimously that the new curriculum took on a far more appropriate subject than those used in the past.

The last curriculum for single Soldiers was entitled, “Pick: How Not to Marry a Jerk or Jerkette.” It showed single Soldiers how to meet someone special, whereas this new curriculum focuses on improving one’s self.

“It’s more practical now; instead of how to pick a partner, this one focuses on how to become better individuals, Soldiers and colleagues,” said Sgt. 1st Class Damon Baker, chaplains assistant and Strong Bonds coordinator, 311th Signal Command.

Spc. Desiree Hammersley, chaplains assistant, 30th Sig. Bde., 311th Sig. Command, agreed.

“There are definitely some changes,” she said. “With the old system, it was ‘push play and hand out workbooks,’ but now we have everyone working in small groups with puzzles, Legos, rocks and magazines, so it’s very interactive.”

“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is Steven Covey’s book, written more than two decades ago. It has since been developed into several curriculums and seminars that businesses and professionals use nationwide today.

The Army Strong Bonds program has already incorporated “The Seven Habits for Highly Effective Army Families” and “The Eight Habits of Highly Successful Marriages” into marriage and family retreats.

“We are not going to change your life in three days,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Stephen Broadus, 516th Sig. Bde. chaplain, 311th Sig. Command. “Our hope is that with all the training, maybe you’ll pick up just one thing you like from this and take it with you, and that will start the effect of improving your life.”

For more information about Strong Bonds, visit

Tags: , , , ,

Category: News, Single Soldiers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *