Yes, FRG meetings. Some people love them, some people hate them. But either way, FRG meetings are such a good thing to have, even if they have issues being implemented. Even if certain FRGs are not working as well as they could be.
FRG stands for “Family Readiness Group” and you can find them in the Army, the Army Reserves, and the Army National Guard. The Navy also calls them the FRG. The Air Force has their Key Spouse Program, the Marine Corps has their Family Readiness Program, and the Coast Guard has their Work-Life Program which all try to accomplish the same thing.
The FRG is there to inform spouses as well as help support them, especially during deployments.
I have been a part of a few different FRG groups, and each one was a little different. My FRGs in Germany felt more like a real community of spouses, working together to get through our deployments or other struggles. In the states, things felt a little different but underneath it all, there was still support in these groups.
I do believe that going to at least one FRG meeting at your new duty station, is a good thing to do. If nothing else, to see how things are going to go. Maybe the FRG meeting won’t be as bad as you think it will be. Maybe there won’t be a lot of drama. Maybe there will be support there that you are yearning for.
As you figure out when and where the FRG meets, and get ready for your first FRG meeting, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Other people are going to be just as nervous as you are
If you are an intrvert, or even if you are not, you might be a bit nervous about going to your first FRG meeting. This is normal. Most people are going to be nervous doing this.
There will be new people to meet, there will be new information to learn, and that can feel so intimidating. Just remember, other people are feeling the same way, and might just be looking for a friendly face, just like you are.
The FRG is supported by volunteers
One thing to keep in mind is that the FRG is going to be supported by volunteers. People who have taken time out of their schedules to help, in many different ways. Giving them a little bit of grace is important.
In some cases, a spouse was “voluntold” to become a leader or take on another position. They might feel like they had to say yes, and might not have wanted to take on the position in the first place. This can make things tricky, and can be an big issue in the military spouse world.
You could become one of them
You could volunteer too. You don’t have to step up to be the FRG leader. There are many other ways to do so.
The FRG includes positions such as Liasion, Assistant Leader, Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter
When you get to your first FRG meeting, they might let you know what positions are available or tell you how you can help. If not, you can always ask where you might be needed. Volunteering through your FRG can be a great way to get to know people a little better and become a part of something that can help a lot of military spouses.
Drama doesn’t have to rule everything
One of the biggest complaints about FRGs is
You can go into your meetings knowing you don’t want to be a part of that. Treating people with respect and responding to situations in a mature manner can go such a long way in controlling the drama. Don’t let the fear of drama keep you away from FRGs alltoegther.
Grace for other people goes a long way
The FRG is made up on humans, and humans can make mistakes sometimes. Your leader might feel at bit overwhelmed at times, or there could be positions that just haven’t been filled yet. When you go to attend your first FRG meeting, seeing the potential instead of just bashing what is, can be important.
Grace for others can go a long
Support is always important
The support military spouses can receive through the FRG is so important, especially during deployments. These spouses are the ones who understand what you are going through because they are going the same thing you are. Most likely, your spouses will be leaving together, will be deployed together, and coming home together.
While you are probably not going to hit it off with everyone in your FRG, your FRG can be a good place to find some understanding friends. This might not happen right away, but the potential is always there. So please remember that as you attend your first FRG meeting.
The FRG won’t fix all of your problems
In the end, the FRG won’t solve all of your problems. The FRG isn’t set up for that. The FRG can’t make your spouse come home any sooner, the FRG can’t raise your children for you, and it can’t take away all of your struggles.
The FRG can help with your lonliness, can help you stay busy, and can give you tools to make it through your deployment, or anything else military life might throw at you.
Have you ever had a good FRG experience? What do you think the key to that was?