A series of two events from the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) in two different locations may be just the ticket you need to meet like-minded spouses, hear some great ideas, connect with Defense Department influencers and even be an influencer yourself.
The annual Warrior-Family Symposium in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9 will this year focus on mental health help. But this isn't just going to be your normal, boring panel driven symposium (yawn). This year tables will be broken down for a time into working groups, giving each participant a chance to tackle mental health help and then present the best insights from their table to the room -- including the experts and officials who are attending.
Bonus: registration is free and lunch is included.
"Military spouses in particular have one of the most powerful voices," said Rene Campos, MOAA's deputy director for government relations who is orchestrating the event. "We have a personal responsibility to advocate, to self-identify who we are, to let people know what our history is and what we do do, because that ultimately is going to provide the best care for our loved ones."
Through the event Campos hopes to connect officials from across the government -- not just the Defense Department and the VA -- to identify improvements we've made in mental health care and where we can be better. Working with the civilian community, she said, is going to be key to making that happen in the future, and now is the perfect time to start working toward it.
"I think we all have a personal civic responsibility to understand what's going on in our community," she said.
If you're not in the D.C. area (or able to fly in like I will be), you may be able to take advantage of a second MOAA event this year aimed specifically at spouses who are looking to help their careers.
This time the MOAA Spouse Symposium will be in Tampa (perfect for you lucky duck Florida people). But unlike past events, this time you get double the help -- not only will they still have their awesome, helpful panels and totally free resume help, but this time they'll also have a second day devoted to a Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair with honest-to-God employers.
Jobs, folks. Just let that word sink in for a second, especially if you've been without one for awhile.
MOAA holds several of spouse symposiums each year across the country. So if this one doesn't work for you, you may be able to catch an event in 2016.