News: Marines, sailors build character during retreat
Story by Cpl. Adam Miller
TOKYO, Japan - Demonstrating good character is essential to being a leader. Regardless of the branch of service, leaders are expected to clear a righteous path for subordinates to follow.
Approximately 20 Marines and sailors seized an opportunity to develop their character by participating in the chaplain’s religious enrichment development operation retreat program April 3-5 at Tama Hills Recreation Area near Yokota Air Base, Japan.
The purpose of the CREDO retreat was to promote attendees’ understanding of themselves and others through a variety of personality tools, encourage personal growth and self-confidence through self-evaluation techniques, and develop personal goals via a personal character assessment and personal mission statement. CREDO also aims to provide tools for effective leadership by identifying means to develop greater teamwork and unit cohesion through team-building skills.
“The goal was to motivate junior Marines and sailors to take pride in their history, as well as to connect the dots between their values and their behavior,” said Lt. John R. Freiberg, a chaplain and the deputy director of CREDO, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “We want them to see how the connections between their morals, beliefs, world views and core values drive their decisions and actions and help them apply these values to real-life situations.”
The participating Marines and sailors are currently stationed at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan.
“The CREDO retreat interested me because I wanted to learn more about the Marine Corps’ core values, and I thought the experience would help me do better at my job,” said Pfc. Devante O. Huntley, a food service specialist with Headquarters Company, CATC Camp Fuji. “The best part of the retreat was being able to interact with everyone and getting to know them a little bit better outside of work.”
During the retreat, attendees participated in several individual and team activities that focused on Marine Corps history, team-building and personality assessment.
“Through the personality assessment sessions, I learned a lot about myself,” said Huntley. “I learned that I am someone who is a quick-thinker and who needs to find a solution to a problem right away. I definitely plan to use what I learned in my job and personal life.”
The CREDO retreat is a three-day event chaplains host annually for those stationed at CATC Camp Fuji. For this iteration, it was designed specifically for Marines and sailors grades E-4 and below.
“The CREDO event at Tama Hills was basically designed to give Marines and sailors a break, so that they can do character-building exercises and get to know the (Marines and sailors) around them in a more personal way,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon K. Toporczyk, a religious program specialist with Headquarters Company, CATC Camp Fuji. “I learned a lot about who everyone is and where they came from before they enlisted, and I really enjoyed that part because it I now appreciate them and myself a lot more.”
The retreat was designed to engage people in meaningful conversations about important topics relevant to both personal and professional development, according to Freiberg.
“I think it takes a healthy, strong person to make a healthy, strong Marine or sailor,” said Freiberg. “I want them to be challenged to think and equipped to act as a result of their experiences (during) the retreat because we face challenges daily.”