“We want families to have the tools and resources, especially with some being military and not always being in this area, by having Ron Deal here to give them other resources they can use in the future,” said Cheri Champagne, Catholic Parish coordinator. “It will be very beneficial to our families.”
The base Chapel staff decided to sponsor the conference “because we realize blended families are becoming more common in our society,” said Dj Shorter, Protestant parish coordinator. “The divorce rate is high, so we want to address that in the best way possible and bring in a nationally and internationally renowned expert.
“Ron Deal can speak to this issue and help stepfamilies be successful by giving advice on how to navigate being a blended family, children’s issues and parental concerns,” Shorter said. “He travels the country and the world speaking on these issues.”
The Chapel is providing free childcare and meals during the conference.
“We want to make sure nobody misses out because they couldn’t get a sitter, and we’re providing meals (any dietary concerns can be addressed during the registration process) because we know parents want to make sure their kids are fed,” Shorter said. “They can relax, know that their kids are being taken care of, listen and learn from Ron and enjoy the conference.”
She knows what it is like to come from a blended family and said the conference’s goals are to create the kind of blended stepfamily she comes from.
“I want people to walk away with a healthy understanding of what a blended family is and how it can be successful. I come from a blended family – my parents divorced when I was seven,” she said. “Both of my parents were active duty, and I know what it is like being a child in that situation, being sent back and forth and living in different countries from a parent. I watched my parents be very successful in having a blended family. I have brothers and sisters and step-parents on both sides.”
Good communication and working together were her experience, and Shorter said she knows it can be done.
“It’s really exciting to know that other families will be able to benefit in the same way,” she said. “It’s so important for the kids – for them to be able to see their parents get along and attend events together. At the end of the day, those kids are going to become adults and we’re teaching them by our actions what marriage looks like, what love looks like, what adulthood looks like, what communication looks like. It starts with the way we communicate with them and what we show them.”
Volunteers are welcome to help facilitate the event by visiting volunteersignup.org/XCTH4 to sign up. Anyone who wishes to sponsor a family may email firstname.lastname@example.org.