By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
KEYSTONE, Colo. — The 50th Space Wing Chapel office saw six months of planning come to fruition as 19 Schriever families attended a family retreat at the Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado, Aug. 12-14 for a weekend full of family bonding.
“We run and do so much that sometimes we don’t think about ourselves, and sometimes we even feel guilty for thinking about ourselves,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray. “I am just honored to be able to pour into the lives of our Airmen and give them a chance to focus on what is most important to most of us, our families.”
The weekend retreat gave attendees the opportunity to focus on their family by offering activities such as kayaking, a pool party, hiking, family movie night, biking, paddleboats, a game of Family Feud and access to a recreation center in order to promote togetherness and family bonding.
While the 2015 retreat was intentionally located in an area without WiFi, television or good cell phone signal to encourage families to focus on each other, this year’s retreat wasn’t as isolated.
“We tried to switch to give people a different experience,” Ray said. “We’re trying different things to see what works best.”
Attendees were shuttled from the lodging area to each activity, in part, to reduce the desire to isolate themselves in their rooms.
In addition to family bonding, the retreat also featured two resiliency sessions, one focused on goal setting and the other on communication and balancing family and work life. Maj. LaToya Smith, 50th Comptroller Squadron commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Peter Smith, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 1 chief, served as speakers for the event.
“We wanted to have people (speak) who know what it feels like to be a military family,” Ray said.
Before the retreat, families received a “homework assignment” consisting of three questions: What are your long term goals for your family? What are your short term goals for this retreat? How can you use your retreat experience to fuel your goals for your family?
During the retreat they were encouraged to work on these goals together to become a closer family unit as well as more resilient.
The Smiths, who have been mentoring military members for more than 20 years, said they draw on their own personal experiences to help those who are struggling.
“We use the experiences we have gained from LaToya being a commander and me being a chief,” Peter said. “We counsel people and people come to you and want information and (ask), ‘How do you deal with this?’ We use that to add to what we want to talk about and what we’ve heard people struggle with.”
“We also look at what we have a hard time with,” LaToya added. “As a (military-to-military) couple, what things do we struggle with?”
LaToya said even though they were the speakers for the retreat, it felt more like they were attendees.
“Even with us having to speak and having responsibility, I don’t think we realized we were the speakers,” she said.
“I would just add to that, the Schriever chaplain staff continues to outdo themselves,” Peter added. “This is our second (retreat), the first time we were attendees. We see a trend of excellence. We really enjoyed this weekend. It was very well done.”
Ray said the chapel retreats not only benefit the attendees, but the mission as well.
“When our families are intact, we feel taken care of and when we are OK, the mission gets taken care of most efficiently,” she said.
For more information about chapel sponsored events, contact the Chapel office at 567-3705.