Spouse clubs used to play a central role in military families. As they’ve slowly declined, the military is picking up some of the organizational slack. Although the Marine Corps is moving away from spouse clubs (the now-defunct Key Volunteer Network has been replaced with the Family Readiness Program) all Marines are now assigned to a Family Readiness Officer (FRO) who’s actually a civilian employee hired by the command who’s responsible for keeping family members in the loop and providing support when needed.
These FROs rely on their Family Readiness Assistants (FRAs) -- usually Marine spouses -- to help them organize family support meetings, briefs and fun events like family days and holiday parties. Becoming an FRA can be a great way to meet other spouses and get involved in your Marine community.
In the Army and Navy, family readiness groups (FRGs) are alive and well (in the Navy they’re run by a spouse volunteer known as an ombudsman), and are a great way for spouses to stay connected with others in their service member’s unit. These groups are more than just a way to get information about upcoming events, deployments and community events, they also offer a sense of camaraderie for spouses in both good and bad times.
If you’re in an area with an active FRG or spouse club, definitely check it out. There’s such negative misinformation out there about spouse clubs (one bad apple sure does ruin the bunch) but overall these clubs provide a much-needed network of people going through the same things you are, and at least during your time at this duty station, will be the people you’ll turn to and lean on the most in times of need. Take the time and make the effort to at least give them a shot…trust us, you won’t’ be disappointed.
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