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Key spouse training available on base

Classes are available through Armed Forces Community Service

A group of McChord Field spouses gather around a C-17 Globemaster III on the flightline after Saturday’s incentive flight. /Courtesy photo

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If you are a commander, first sergeant or military spouse looking to be a leader in a Family Readiness Group or Key Spouse with the Wingman Family Support, classes are available through Armed Forces Community Service to give you the information and networking opportunities you need for success.

The classes — most offered monthly — are especially helpful for commanders, first sergeants and Family Readiness Group Liaisons. One hour to 90-minute classes also can be provided desk-side, where instructors come to you, according to Pamela Allen, Mobilization and Deployment Program manager with AFCS. She has been co-leading the FRG classes since 2002.

“Taking over the FRG or assisting is very daunting — you can lose track of what you need to do,” Allen said. “I do not think people realize the challenges FRG leaders and volunteers face, and most importantly, how hard they work for the unit and the families.”

The networking and training individuals receive through the classes make a big difference in being an effective leader in the program, she said, adding that although similar coursework is available online, it’s much better to attend classes face to face with other individuals and leaders.

“We can provide ongoing support beyond the classes and that support system is a tremendous help,” Allen said.

FRG classes are typically 10-hour courses, offered in daytime or evening settings, split between two or three days of classes. In addition to planning parties or raising funds for the unit — which, Allen said, many people erroneously think is all there is to being such a leader — one involved in the FRG or Key Spouse training also learns a wealth of communication skills and ways to provide support within the families in their community. This contributes to overall resiliency and readiness of the Army family and units on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Classes also are provided for FRG Key Caller Training — an important component that trains a few FRG members to quickly and efficiently contact other spouses when the need arises. Those enrolled in classes learn to go beyond the social element of FRG, she said.

“They learn that they aren’t just a social enhancer; they are a mission enhancer,” Allen said.

Upcoming classes take place at AFCS Waller Hall Classroom, 2140 Liggett Ave., Lewis Main and at AFCS McChord, 55 1/2 Barnes Blvd., McChord Field, depending on the course.

Classes include: FRG Leadership Training, offered Feb. 16 and 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. and March 8 and 9 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. FRG 101 for Commanders and First Sergeants will take place March 14 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

FRG Liaison Training is offered Feb. 14 and April 25. FRG Treasurer Training will take place March 16 from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 and March 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. FRG Key Caller Training is offered Feb. 9 and April 10 from 9 to 11 a.m. and March 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Registration is required and child care is provided for daytime classes with advance registration through Child, Youth and School Services. For registration, specific class location and other information, call the FRG at 253-967-8430; Key Spouse at 253-982-2695; AFCS at 253-967-7166 or 253-982-2695.

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