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Minnesota National Guard
Single Soldiers retreat from Deployment

Deploying to a combat zone can be a stressful time to any service member With longer working hours, sometimes dangerous missions and missing family members, it is easy to see why But stress doesn't go away when they return home They change Single Soldiers met over the weekend of Feb 3 at the Crown-Plaza to discuss the three biggest issues a Soldier faces when they return: stress management, personal finance and relationships

"We want to bring balance back to their lives," said Chaplain Mark Thompson, coordinator of the Single Soldiers Retreat, "and help them to realize they have the control to make good choices in their lives"
The information was passed in a informal manner, with Soldiers and instructors in civilian attire and several interactive resources, like personal assessments and activities, instead of lecture after lecture
"I definitely learned a lot," said Pvt Ryan Whight, 114th Transportation Co, Chisum Minn, who wanted to learn more about financial management "There was a lot of information Some I knew before, but I know much more now"
"I wanted the Soldiers to be aware, and committed," said Leslie Rhodes, Military and Family Life representative, who spoke on financial management "Far too many times there is financial illiteracy, not just cash-flow management My job is to educate folks about savings, investing, retirement planning, and making a budget"
Managing inter-personal relationships was also on the Soldier's minds
"Communication is so important," said Sgt Dan Ford, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery out of New Ulm, Minn "You have to build on those earlier blocks, like trust, before you can move further for your relationship"
At the end of the three-day event, the Soldiers left with the knowledge and confidence to make those good choices
"There was a difference in their eyes and faces on that last day," said Spc Johathan Groeneweg, Chaplain's assistant and coordinator of the event "They all learned"
The next Single Soldier Retreat will be held on April 27 " 29
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