The United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command chaplain held a three-day, “Becoming a Man” Adventure event at Camp Rockfish in Parkton, N.C., Feb. 22 to 24.

“So often, due to deployments, and even regular routine with work and schedules, fathers and sons don’t necessarily spend as much time together as either one would like,” said Lt. Col. John A. Routzahn Jr., USASOAC chaplain.

“The purpose of the weekend was to carve out some dedicated, one-on-one time between father and son to explore, discover and strengthen the relationships between them.”

John Brantley, co-founder of BAM Adventures, created the Becoming a Man Adventures program with his sons because he saw an opportunity to address a lack of father/son relationship development, especially in the military, Routzahn said.

“John Brantley has a philosophy that, as fathers and sons, our calling is to think deeper, love stronger and live greater. One of the things I hope both father and son took away from this weekend was a little bit of that philosophy.”

The weekend consisted of a variety of events including one-on-one and group discussions and multiple hands-on activities. The highlight for many participants was the Great Race.

The Great Race was a timed father/son event that consisted of sixteen stations, with a variety of activities, scattered throughout the Camp Rockfish grounds. The father/son team had to complete each activity together before proceeding to the next station. The activities, which ranged from throwing ninja-stars at a target to the son leading a blindfolded dad through a small obstacle course, helped fathers and sons work together as a team.

“The Great Race is probably where my son had the most fun,” said Army 1st Lt. Matthew A. Roll, USASOAC engineer and BAM participant. “For me, I would probably say throwing the flying disk (at a designated target) and trying to do the wheel-barrel with my son was the best part.”

Although the Great Race was fun for everyone, it was just one of the many benefits attendees took away from the weekend.

“The whole weekend was fun but just getting that quality time and being able to have in-depth conversations with him was the best part for me,” Schack said.

Along with the discussion time, fathers also learned skills to lessen the communication barrier they may face with their sons at home.

“I learned that it’s a lot easier to talk to my son when we’re actively involved and deeply engaged in something,” Schack said. “It makes it easier to make conversation and small talk that gets deeper and deeper. It’s a good ice breaker and a great way to open up dialogue.”

As the weekend came to a close, and the fathers and sons headed back home, Routzahn knew what he wanted the participants to take away from the weekend.

“As they left, hopefully they’ll have a better understanding of who they should be as a man or as a young man,” Routzahn said.

For more information on the Becoming a Man Adventures, visit