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Lance Cpl. Benjamin Alfaro utilizes his mobile phone for an interactive exercise during a Single Marine and Sailor Personal Growth Retreat in New Bern, N.C., Jan. 29-30, 2016. Marines and Sailors from across 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing gathered for a detailed seminar that encompassed basic skills like coping with stress, relationship building and self-awareness. The seminar was led by chaplains with 2nd MAW and focused on helping Marines and Sailors grow as individuals to get them mentally ready for forward deployment and to promote self-improvement. Alfaro is an electric refrigeration mechanic with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas/Released)

Photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas

Chaplains host SMP self-improvement retreat

17 Feb 2016 | Cpl. N.W. Huertas 10th Marine Regiment

Away from the stressfull day-to-day work enviroment, Marines and Sailors gathered with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing chaplains for a Single Marine and Sailor Personal Growth Retreat in New Bern, Jan. 29-30.

More than 70 single Marines and Sailors participated in the event, which was created to build emotional and spiritual resiliancy.  It is the first time in years that a retreat has been held solely for single service members which included: interactive classes to improve skills such as communication, self-awareness, reflection and other lessons to promote self-improvement.

According to Lance Cpl. Renona Gay, a heavy equipment operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, the seminar made her reflect on her outlook as an individual and as a Marine. The lessons were broken down to teach skills used on a daily basis and improvethe positive impact that those skills would make on their lives.

“It is easy to get caught up in negative things like the stresses of work, ” said Gay. “Being away with other service members and having the ability to reflect on yourself is a new experience and it gives you motivation to be a better version of yourself.

The skills the seminar taught were centered around the struggles single service members would face in their personal and professional lives. The mental readiness of Marines is crucial to their ability to perform and deploy at a moments notice.

“Lets say we have a Marine who might have lost their focus along the way, ” said Lt. Kyron Bell, a staff chaplain with Marine Aircraft Group 14. “It does not necessarily mean that he won‘t be an asset anymore. How do we refocus that? We save the Marine by helping them by reestablishing their self reliance and lifting their spirit, so they can get back into the fight. This seminar is for both those people who have lost their way, and those just looking to improve already good things. ”

2nd MAW chaplains have structured courses for Marines and Sailors as part of the Chaplains Religious Enrichment and Development Program . Although the seminar was held for single service members, CREDO has been hosting marrige retreats for married service members throughout 2nd MAW.

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