Military families come together for AEF retreat

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Military families took a break to experience some recreational opportunities, get to know one another better, and improve and build on resiliency at the Air Expeditionary Force Family Retreat on May 4-6.

Approximately 40 families who had military members deploying or just returning from a deployment enjoyed the wonderful lodging, the beautiful scenery, the activities for children, the memory-making moments, and the great food.

“The purpose of the AEF retreats is to provide a place for military families to have some down time, offer some tools and to make our Air Force families stronger and more resilient despite the separations that occur due to deployments,” said Chaplain (1st Lt.) Joseph Kim.

Families participated in a variety of activities, such as hiking, dancing, family photo, laser tag, bouncy house, hay-ride and other activities for the kids.

During a resiliency session, Dr. Brent Bounds, Ph.D., clinical psychologist from New York City, discussed with couples how to strengthen their marriages. The purpose and methods of communication, love languages, conflict and problem solving, and fighting fair were topics of discussion.

“Loving, honest, and clear communication builds intimacy in marriage,” said Bounds. “While healthy conflict resolution builds safety, hope, and resilience in your family.”

Throughout the session, a couple could be seen with the wife’s head on her husband’s shoulder.

Another couple sat with the husband holding his wife in a reassuring, enclosing hug as they listened to the presenter until it was time to participate in one-on-one discussions.

“Sharing time with my spouse as adults without children around was the most meaningful about the weekend. It created a shared experience that led to very deep conversations together each night,” one of the participants commented in the survey.

Many participants showed their gratitude to staff and volunteers for their efforts and time into making the retreat a first-class event and expressed their willingness to help and volunteer in the next retreat.

“This is really good because the events wouldn’t be impossible if it weren’t for the numerous volunteers that help put the retreat together,” said Kim.

Kim said registration for the AEF Single Airmen Retreat that will be held June 30-July 1 are currently available. Single Airmen who will be deploying in the next few months, or just returning, call the Hill AFB Chapel at 801-777-2106.

The next AEF Family Retreat will be held in October.