When your loved one is far from home, where do you turn to for support? All services strive to provide programs to family members to ensure they do not feel alone and have a place to build friendships. Whether you are new to military life or have experienced multiple deployments, there is one thing that is shared between us all. The separations don’t get easier; you learn strategies to cope and find available resources to help successfully navigate military life. You learn how strong you are and to appreciate the time with your loved one more.
One of the things I get to do every month is to lead presentations to military leaders, families and servicemembers at my local installation. Recently I had a soon to be Army wife ask me, “What is an FRG?” On any given day, we all will have the opportunity to welcome new members into our military family. We must be willing to answer their questions, provide encouragement and when possible, mentor them. This post will highlight the basics of a Family Readiness Group (FRG) for those of you who are either new military life or new to participating in your unit FRG.
What is an FRG?
Each branch of service defines their FRG family program a little bit differently, however the common thread is the mission of preparing and supporting military families for and during a deployment or underway period. Your FRG will work with the command team of Chaplains, Family Support Centers and School Liaison Officers to provide the best support possible.
Who can participate in an FRG?
All service members assigned and attached to a command or unit and their family members belong to an FRG. Most commanders make FRG participation eligible to extended family members, fiancés, girlfriend, boyfriends, civilians assigned to the command and in some cases retirees.
How does an FRG help you navigate military life?
Each branch runs an FRG meeting differently, however here are some common pieces that you will most likely find when participating in your FRG:
Social events – You’ll have the opportunity to get to know the spouses and family members within your command.
Kids activities – This is a great place for your kids to meet and interact with other kids going through their same experience.
Official communication from the Command Leadership team – This is most likely the best place for you to receive up-to-date command or unit information. For example if you are a Navy unit, the unit Ombudsman will provide new communication from the Commander Officer or Command Master Chief to include upcoming mail drops, port call updates, etc.
Important information – Your FRG is a great place to ask questions about a problem you may be experiencing. You’ll receive briefings on available resources and in many cases educators from your installation Family Readiness Center will offer presentations on topics like: financial management, communication, and military life 101.
We’ve been part of great and not so great FRG’s. My advice is to give yours a chance. Volunteer your time to make your FRG the best. Using your skills and talents will surely make your experience with the unit much more rewarding.
How has your FRG helped you get through a deployment? I love to hear from experienced spouses. Please share your advice in the comments section below!
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