174th Deployers Participate in Strong Bonds Couples Retreat Published Nov. 13, 2008 By Terri Scanlin 174th Family Readiness Coordinator Corning, NY -- The first Hancock Field Strong Bonds Couples Weekend was a huge success! It was held 7 to 9 November 2008, at the Radisson Corning, 125 E. Denison Parkway, Corning, NY. The Strong Bonds Couples weekend retreat is designed to strengthen relationships, inspire hope and rekindle marriages--even start the journey of healing for relationships under fire. Twenty three couples participated in an informational, inspirational, (yet humorous), curriculum led by Lt. Col. Eric Olsen from the Joint Forces Chaplains Office in Latham, NY. Capt. Jay Osterhout, 174th FW Chaplain, was his assistant. The couples practiced communication and relationship building skills and enjoyed a time of relaxation, recreation, fellowship, and fun. The Family Programs Office is researching the possibility of holding the next weekend retreat in Spring 2009. The feedback about the weekend was very positive. Here are a few of the remarks taken from the survey: "This is a program that I hope stays available in the future for more couples to participate in. This helped us to talk and discuss matters that have been pushed aside because of the business of life. We were able to reconnect because of the time together. We are going home with a more hopeful and renewed outlook on our marriage." "I thought it is wonderful to feel that the Air National Guard cares enough to expend the funds and dedicate the manpower to work at improving family relationship. I would think it would be a wonderful advantage, long term, if we could encourage more participation for younger couples and newlywed couples, etc." "This program is much needed and I can't think of a better way to spend time with my wife. This is a great program and more people need this in their life." "Humor goes a long way! Eric was great, the seminar opened my eyes and actually showed me how great my relationship is with my husband - but that I could use the techniques with my kids as well! Looking forward to the next one! Thank you!" "Eric is an amazing facilitator. His humor is an asset to this program. I can't imagine having this discussion with someone who doesn't share his light-hearted look at serious topics." "This was an incredible experience and indicative of what I've always said, "The Guard takes care of their own." My husband is an active duty Marine with 30 years under his belt, and he couldn't say enough good things about this trip. His command at Camp Lejeune was also impressed. Perhaps you've set some wheels in motion with the Marines. Great job, Terri!" "I would like to thank the people who have made it possible to run this program. It is a good program to help couples deal with issues that come up in a healthy way. Thank you." "Great program. Good way to network with other couples to compare notes on issues and possibly use some of their tools in our own marriage."