WILLOW GROVE AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. --
On Aug. 27, 2011, the National Guard sponsored a three state prevention and relationship enhancement program (PREP) at the Chauncey Hotel and Convention Center in Princeton, NJ. The scheduled three day event was attended by 45 Air and Army National Guard couples from Del., Pa. and NJ.
The program teaches and re-enforces the skills and attitudes associated with successful marriages. Several of the areas covered in PREP course focused on: communication, conflict management, affect regulation, commitment, expectation, intimacy enhancement, and gender differences. It provides a proactive approach, geared towards relationship adjustments rather than reactionary intervention after problems have emerged.
Sections of the program were lead by 111th Fighter Wing chaplains, Lt. Col. Rhonda Cushman and Capt. John Caudle. Caudle said, "Pennsylvania has taken a lead role nationally in bringing this program to its Air Guard side as this is our second year of involvement. The Army Guard, nationally, has been involved for several years now."
Technical Sgt. Anthony Henderson, customer service representative with the 111th Force Support Squadron, was in attendance with his wife Katrina. "The facilities and service here at the hotel are phenomenal," Katrina said. "We were really looking forward to the getaway, time to spend with one another."
Anthony said, "We've been married a long time, but never so long that we couldn't learn some new tips or hints to keep thing fresh and on track. The program is giving us possibilities of looking at things from a new perspective."
"The enrichment program is not just strictly for the married couples among us," Caudle said. "In the upcoming year, we hope to add different programs that are tailored to singles, a reintegration weekend session tailored to members returning from deployments and a family oriented presentation."
Anna Richar, 111th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Programs Manager coordinated with program managers from Delaware and New Jersey to weave together this year's event. "This year's event was a total success, with the exception of having to cancel one day due to the hurricane situation," Richar said. She confirmed that there will be upcoming future joint ventures.
"There are several ways to sustain and foster a marriage. Seek-out support structure assistance from those around you such as friends, relatives and clergy. Stay steadfast in your commitment to your spouse and the unity. Let mutual respect be a guide. Maintain maturity in your marriage. Speaking the truth to one another, a willingness to learn, listening and understand, and being able to admit your own faults will bring about growth within the marriage."
-- Lt. Col. Rhonda Cushman, 111th Fighter Wing Chaplain