I very clearly remember my first FRG meeting (actually, it was an FSG meeting … back when the title was still “Family Support Group”). I had been married to my fabulous Soldier for several weeks and wanted to see what this Army thing was all about. To start the meeting, the nice lady at the head of the table (whom I later learned was the battalion commander’s wife and the leader of the battalion’s FSG), asked us to introduce ourselves and tell what unit our spouse was in. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, at this point in our Army lives, I had not yet learned … well, … really anything. When my turn came, I remember stammering my husband’s name and proudly informing the group that he was in the Army AND in the Field Artillery! (For those of you not familiar with the Army, ALL of the Soldiers were in the Army AND in the Field Artillery; it was a Field Artillery battalion. My answer just made clear to all that I had no idea about how the Army was organized.)
My husband gave me a quick tutorial that night and I learned that a Field Artillery battalion was comprised of four batteries and was a part of the division’s Artillery, called DIVARTY. I learned our battery name, our battalion name, and even found out the name of the division we were in. Who knew? Years later, when my husband became the commander of a battery, I knew that I wanted to help every single spouse feel comfortable, invited, and informed. I had learned a lot from that first battalion FSG Leader; she was a wonderfully compassionate, down-to-earth leader who genuinely cared about the Soldiers and Families in the battalion. I knew that was the kind of leader I wanted to be.
If you are in a leadership position for an Army Family Readiness Group, you likely have the same kind of goals that I did – keep Families informed, support unit readiness, and maintain a flow of communication with your unit members. There are many ways to work toward these goals … taking your local installation FRG Leader training, completing the online FRG Leader Training at Army OneSource, and working with fellow FRG Leaders to plan events and activities.
One of my greatest lessons learned as an FRG Leader was to share ideas with others. Sharing your lessons learned and taking lessons from others is one sure way to get the most of your planning. The best place that I’ve found to start sharing ideas is on a website created specifically for Army FRG Leaders: The FRG Leader Forum at http://frgleader.army.mil/.
The FRG Leader Forum is an online community of leaders. As the website states …
“The FRG Leader forum is BY and FOR those serving in a FRG Leader role. This forum provides like-minded individuals the opportunity to share new ideas and lessons learned improving leadership skills and family readiness programs. FRG Leader is more than just a resource for FRG Leaders; its value comes from Leaders connecting with each other and sharing their experiences and hard-earned knowledge. We invite you to participate and join the conversation!”If you don’t have an account on the FRG Leader forum yet, stop now; open a new tab on your Internet browser, and type in http://FRGLeader.army.mil. Create your account now! You’ll be so glad once you see all of the amazing resources there.
The FRG Leader forum is made up of FRG Leaders from across the globe, sharing their successes as well as their lessons learned. You will find tons of great discussions and enjoy an atmosphere of support and encouragement. One of the best features is that everything posted on the site is yours to use! FRG Meeting agendas, newsletter examples, checklists, articles, certificates … all are yours to download, put your own unit crest on it and it’s yours! Not only is there no copyright on any original work, the authors (FRG Leaders who created these items for their own FRGs) want you to use what they’ve labored over.
The FRG Leader forum has recently branched out and created shared spaces for Senior FRG Advisors (at the battalion level or higher) and Family Readiness Support Assistants (FRSAs) as well, so please share these with your unit.
Finally, I wish you the best of luck as you take on the challenging yet rewarding task of leading an FRG. Thank you for your service to our Soldiers and Families!
Some Website Links for You:
- FRG Leader Training at Army OneSource