As a military spouse, attending an FRG meeting can be one of the best ways to find out what’s going on with your service member’s unit and learn about some of the fantastic resources available to you as a spouse. Attending your first meeting may seem intimidating, but in all reality, many of us have been in that same position- walking into a room of unknowns where everyone (or almost everyone) is a stranger.
Over the years, some Family Readiness Groups (FRGs), have gained a bit of a bad rap, but don’t let that deter you from attending a meeting. Sure, there are some bad-apple groups sprinkled out there, but in my experience, most FRGs are filled with wonderful people. These are just some of the basics for when it comes time to attend your first meeting or event.
Go in with an open mind and positive attitude. You can’t show up with a crappy attitude, expecting the worst and expect that things are going to go well for you. Try introducing yourself to the leader, or even just someone sitting around you. Groups like these are a great place to make new friends who are obviously going through similar things as you.
Hopefully you’ll be provided with an agenda of some sort, in which case you’ll only need to bring a pen or other writing utensil. But just in case, take something to write on as well. A notebook or even just a few blank sheets of paper should be perfect.
Typically you can expect the meeting to start with some sort of intro, followed by important dates and announcements. I love to do an ice breaker in the beginning to help the attendees get familiar with each other. Depending on group size, its nice to at least have each person stand and introduce themselves. From there, the Commander takes over with the unit specific stuff (trainings, field time, etc.) that I pretend to understand. Try as I might, there’s always some new Army term or acronym thrown in there. From there the leader should take over to let you know upcoming FRG events or even events going on in the local community.
Before leaving, make sure to at the very least, introduce yourself to your FRG leader and make sure that he or she has your correct contact info to keep you up to date on all future meetings and event. If you’re feeling bold, try introducing yourself to others that you feel you might have something in common with. I’ve met several of my best friends through the FRG!
Unless otherwise noted, most meetings tend to have a casual feel and dress code. You will find everything from t-shirt and jeans to business formal, seeing that many spouses often make it to the meeting just after work. Of course there will also be the handful of service members still in uniform.
Really, there are no strict rules or expectations. Everyone is there for information and to support their service member, so go check it out!