History of Strong Bonds
Recognizing the importance of family support, the Army introduced the program Building Strong and Ready Families in 1997. Initially, 90 active-duty couples participated in four events. Over the past year, more than 130,000 Soldiers and Family members have participated in over 3,700 Strong Bonds events. The program’s success has led to increased funding, expansion Army-wide, and more training options.
New programs now meet Soldiers at different phases of the relationship cycle. Specific training is offered for the Single Soldier, Couples, Families with children, and all Soldiers and Families facing deployment.
Strong Bonds is fully-funded and Chaplain-led with the support of the Commanding Officer. Soldiers and their Families attend with others in the unit who share the same deployment cycle. During the retreat, Soldiers and Families participate in small group activities that reveal common bonds and nurture friendships. This shores up spousal support at home, which can be vitally important while the Soldier is away. In addition, Soldiers and Families gain awareness of community resources that can assist with concerns about health and wellness, even crisis intervention.
An increasing percentage of recruits come from Army Families. Strong Bonds Family program is an investment in Army Families and in the Future Force.