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Why I Support My FRG

July 1, 2009

The other day, I posted about the bad that can come from an FRG. My intention was to post something wonderful about Family Readiness Groups, but I was sidetracked by the garbage that was spewed by our oh so wonderful Rear D guy. To update you on that really quick … his ass is grass. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only spouse that complained. So needless to say, dude. is. toast.

Unfortunately, these are the type of stories that get out, and give the FRG a bad name. I will be completely honest with you. I am a big, big advocate of the FRG. When I first moved out here to Fort X, our FRG leader contacted me, and was a great resource. She was always available to talk, whenever I needed it, and really helped me through the 15 month deployment. On top of that, I was new to the Army lifestyle. I learned so much through my volunteer work with them, that I may have no learned otherwise. It was a wonderful way to immerse myself in Army culture.

Our FRG is a well-oiled machine. We are a small company — only 60 guys [and girls]. About half of those are married. Of those 30 or so spouses, only about 10 of us stick around during deployments. We’re a pretty tight-knit group. We had some bumps in the road the first half of this deployment, but some leadership changes have been made, and we are back on track to doing the great things that we do. Case in point: earlier this week one of our spouses went into labor six weeks early. Because I work on post, I shot over to the hospital, and we [the FRG leadership] took turns staying with her until the baby was born. I got in touch with my husband [thank you technology!], who was able to shoot a message to her husband. As a result, daddy was able to be on the phone with mama during the labor and was able to hear his baby girl cry for the first time. We stayed at the hospital with her. We arranged for family members to pick up her kids. We took care of her. And, it was awesome. 🙂

Now, I realize, after talking to quite a few people and hearing the stories, that not all FRG’s are as great as mine is. I consider myself very lucky that we have such dedicated people to helping out.

So, if your FRG sucks [and trust me, I know. A lot of them do] what can you do to help? I can tell you that bitching and whining about it does nobody any good. So here are some suggestions to help make your FRG a better operation:

  • Volunteer. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. If you are upset because you aren’t getting phone calls, or event invites, or emails, then call your FRG leader. She is only one person, and can’t do it all. Sometimes, believe it or not, they need help.
  • Reach out to the other spouses. Ask them to coffee. Let them know that you may be able to babysit one day if you don’t have any kids. When you get to know the other spouses that are left behind with you, it makes it easier to want to get involved with those people.
  • Give your FRG leader a break. Sometimes, as with our current FRG leader, they get thrown into the position without any warning. Or without even being asked. They may not be getting paid for it, as is the current trend to do, so they probably have other things going on. And, they aren’t always the Commander’s wife, as it should be. In the three years we’ve been with this current company, the CO’s wife hasn’t been involved ONCE. It may be a learning experience for them.
  • Attend meetings and events. When your FRG hosts an event, attend if at all possible. If the events are not your cup of tea, speak to the FRG leader about more suitable events. If you don’t go [and are able to — I realize not everyone is able], and don’t put in your two cents in, you have no right to complain.
  • Keep your information up to date. It is important, especially during deployments, that the FRG knows how to contact you. This is the biggest mistake that people make. They get a new phone number. They change email addresses. They rely on their spouses [who are busy preparing for the deployments!] to pass along the right information. So many people say they don’t get any information when the information is out there. The FRG just may not know how to get a hold of you. Be sure to also pass along alternate contact information when you will be out of town, whether it is for a few days or a few months.
  • Remember spouses have no rank. Regardless of your spouses rank in the military, that rank is not your own. We all go through the same things during deployments. We all miss our spouses, and deal with being left behind. Use that common ground.

What about you guys? Have you been involved in your FRG’s, currently or in the past? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Let us know!

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