Eighth Army chaplain's office holds Transformational Family Training
Soldiers assigned to Eighth Army and their families had an opportunity to share no ordinary adventures and grow as a family during Transformational Family Training at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, September 23-25.
Transformational Family Training is a recreational program specifically designed for members of Eighth Army to grow their relationships and build resiliency with their families in a compressed amount of time according to Drew Brantley, the program designer from the Resilient Families Institute and BAM Adventures.
Brantley presented certain principles he stuck to when he designed the program to the families attending the training.
"To empower the next generation, we want to put the younger generation in the driver's seat and let them learn from their mistakes and the experiences that they have during the weekend," he said. "We also want them to strengthen the bond between the family members, so families are intentionally working together as a unit throughout the entire weekend."
Brantley also stressed the importance of activity-based learning for children.
"We don't bring in speakers or have any powerpoints," he said. "The training is all activity based and experience-based learning that's intentionally designed to, instead of tell people what to do, create an experience where they can come to that realization and that moment of ah-hah for themselves."
Staff Sgt. Evan Chase, a chaplain's assistant with the Eighth Army Chaplains Office said he wanted to help families transform into a better team through this program.
"We basically want to transform the resiliency and the dynamics in the families that attended," he said. "We were hoping that they would come here and leave transformed to a tighter family team."
Participants said they wanted to improve the family ties through the program.
"I thought it would be a good way to reconnect with my family after I'd been gone for so many months because of Senior Leader Course and Ulchi Freedom Guardian 16," said Staff. Sgt. Clay Gibson, a visual information equipment operator-maintainer with the Eighth Army signal systems office. "This event afforded me an opportunity to spend a weekend and reconnect with them."
The training consisted of various indoor and outdoor activities.
Indoor activities included building furniture by using their bodies and building roller coasters using pipe insulation, tooth picks and tape in a competetion type atmosphere against other families participating in the three-day program.
Outdoor activities consisted of The Great Race and construction competition.
In The Great Race, participants raced through fourteen stations. At each station, they had to complete a fun, but challenging mission as a family. During the race, children had to take off a paper attached to their parent's forehead with a squirt gun or guide blindfolded parents so they didn't step on cones scattered throughout the race.
For the construction competition, they built water cannons together as a family and had a battle between two family teams using sponge balls at a Yongsan baseball field.
Participants expressed their satisfaction with the program.
"It's an awesome program," said Sgt. 1st Class Karim Clarke, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the signals operations, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, Eighth Army. "The focus was more on the kids expressing their feelings and, as it went along, they were more engaged."
Participants also said the activities helped them build deeper connections with their family members while praising the program.
"I can't think of anything bad about this program," said Gibson. "It allows us to spend time together, to bond and to meet new people. It takes us out of our comfort zone and actually puts us all in an area where we have to connect again."