Sept. 11, 2008 — Singles in the Virgin Islands National Guard can now get informed coaching on how to follow their hearts without losing their minds.
Sponsored by the VING's Family Program Office and the Chaplains Services, the Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge (P.I.C.K.) Seminar runs Sept. 19-21, at a St. Thomas resort to be named later, according to a statement. "The goal [of these seminars] is to have service members with healthy relationships so they can better focus on their mission," Shirmel Gumbs, family assistance center coordinator said.
Although led by military chaplains, the five-session seminar is not a religious program, Gumbs said. The program is available to service members throughout all states and territories.
The seminar explains the importance of building safe relationships while knowing what to look for in a partner. Participants are taught five key areas to explore in a partner when working towards a long-term committed relationship
Gumbs said a major factor in a successful relationship is knowing oneself in terms of character, interests, personal goals, skills, values and beliefs. The program will also discuss the dynamics of knowing, trust, reliance, commitment and sexual touch.
"The first bonding dynamic, getting to know someone, encompasses the five most important areas to explore during the premarital relationship. The delicate balance between this dynamic connection and the other four protect you against the love-is-blind syndrome," seminar literature explains.
"It is really creative and we offer not only an excellent curriculum but an opportunity for fun," Gumbs said. "The one we had in August was the first one for single service members."
That seminar, held at the Westin Resort on St. John, proved popular, selling 37 out of 40 available spaces. The singles workshop was held in conjunction with a couples seminar, called Strong Bonds Seminar, which also nearly sold out.
"It made me examine my own relationship, and I decided to make changes based on what I learned," said Pfc. Ashley Benton, who attended a previous P.I.C.K seminar. "It teaches you how to find the right person and how to bring the relationship to that point and how to maintain that relationship," she said.
Gumbs said the male-female breakdown of attendees at the August seminar was about one-third men, and two-thirds women.
Open to all single service members of the VING (Army & Air), the seminar is limited to 100 attendees. The deadline for registration for the program is Friday and costs $60 per person. Transportation, lodging and meals are covered by the Family Program Office.
VING singles interested in registering for the seminar, can contact the Family Program Office in St. Croix at 340-712-7773 or 340-332-3625, or in St. Thomas at 340-332-2123 or 340-332-3940.
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