The FRG, or Family Readiness Group, in many ways gets a bad rap that they don’t truly deserve. I’ve heard many horror stories about the FRG but I’ve also heard many positive ones as well. Mixed in with the stories are a few myths that I thought I may be able to clear up as well.
1. The FRG is made up completely by volunteers – typically other wives of that unit, just like you. In some cases, parents are also volunteers. When they call you on your long distance phone number, for instance, that money for the phone call comes out of that key caller’s pocket.
2. The FRG is not made up of mind readers. They can’t magically know that you are new in town or that you and your soldier were just married unless someone tells them. Generally this is done by your soldier. Make sure he lets them know you are here. And if he doesn’t, then you make the call to get your name on the list. Complaining because you’ve never heard from the FRG doesn’t actually accomplish anything. Take action and let them know you are there!
3. FRGs are typically as active as their spouses are. Many times, I’ve heard the complaint that the FRG doesn’t do anything or doesn’t do enough. But turn around and ask the same person if they went to the last event and 95% of the time, the answer is no. If you want your FRG to be active, then attend the events they have and encourage more.
4. Better yet, VOLUNTEER. I don’t know of any FRGs that will turn it down when a spouse or parent offers to be a volunteer. There are many activities you can help with – from being a key caller and passing information through the phone chain to editing a unit newsletter. If you want to see your FRG change, then volunteer to help be a part of that change.
5. Communicate with your FRG. When a key caller calls you and has to leave a message, call her back to confirm you received it. Answer emails. Attend events. Call your key caller or leader and give them ideas of things to do. Go to meetings. Show you want to be involved and be sure to invite other spouses to attend with you.
I hope all of you will at least give your FRG a chance before you write it off as a lost cause based on stories you heard from others. Even if your FRG is really bad, it can always be turned around with the help of spouses who want it to be a better organization.