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Army Family Programs -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
Are there any confidentialy rules that apply to volunteers in Army-endorsed activities?

Answer:
Yes; volunteers in Army-endorsed activities are bound by Army rules regulating confidentiality and privileged information. However, it is appropriate to violate confidentiality to report spouse or child abuse, and certain types of threats against the government.

Question:
As a Family Readiness Group Leader (or advisor to an FRG), what Army Regulations and/or Department of Defense Regulations should I be aware of?

Answer:
There are a number of official publications and documents that you should be aware of such as: The Army Family Readiness Group Leader's Handbook that is part of the Operation READY materials, AR 608-1 (Army Community Service Center); AR 340-21 (The Army Privacy Program); AR 672-20 (Incentive Awards); DA Forms 4162R and 4713R (for documenting volunteer hours), etc. The Army FRG Leader Handbook has a wealth of information regarding FRG funds, use of official mail for distributing FRG newsletters, and other important information regarding volunteer management and leading an effective FRG. Consult the Legal Services office in your military community regarding updates and changes to regulations governing FRGs.

Question:
As the incoming Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader, what are some tips to make the transition go smooth?

Answer:
One of the most productive things you can do is to communicate in advance with the outgoing Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader to obtain transition information (e.g., unit rosters, Appropriated funds, After Action Reports from events, etc.). The outgoing FRG leader can also brief you about community issues and give you a status report about the FRG such as ongoing issues, upcoming events they have planned, etc. The other thing you can do to make a smooth transition is to meet with the unit commander to discuss ideas and goals. Introduce yourself to community leaders with whom you may be working and also make a point to meet current FRG chairpersons. When you have your first FRG meeting, keep the agenda simple. Include introductions and perhaps take a survey of the members to see what their interests are. Learn more about leading an FRG from the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook as well as from the other resources provided.

Question:
Can I find out about MWR facilities and resources online?

Answer:
Most (if not all) military communities have a website that includes information on the type of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facilities and resources that are available. You can locate your specific community's website by selecting the "A-Z" option on the official Army website (www.army.mil) or go directly to your installation's MWR page by finding your installation from the MWR website at www.armymwr.com.

Question:
Do I need to make sure our Family Readiness Group (FRG) members have transporation to bring them to our FRG activities?

Answer:
As a Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader or Activity Coordinator for the FRG, it would certainly be a welcomed gesture to ask individual members if they have transportation issues that may prevent them from participating in your activities. Many FRGs ask their members to complete a survey for the purpose of gathering ideas about what members are interested in, how many children they have, medical or transportation issues, etc., which can help the FRG leader plan activities. You may have members who are unable to volunteer a lot of time to the FRG, but who might be willing to give others a ride to the meetings or events. Ask for volunteers. You are not responsible for solving everyone's problems, but it would surely be a welcomed idea if you helped coordinate rides for members who might otherwise not be able to participate in FRG activities.

Question:
How can I encourage all members of our Family Readiness Group to participate?

Answer:
“Operation READY” materials include the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook that replaced DA Pamphlet 608-47, A Guide to Establishing Family Support Groups. In this handbook, paraphrasing DA Pamphlet 608-47, the FRG is “an organization of family members, volunteers, soldiers, and civilian employees belonging to a unit/organization who together provide an avenue of mutual support and assistance and a network of communication among the members, the chain of command, and community resources.” Members include all assigned and attached Soldiers (married and single), spouses and children, extended families, fiancées, boyfriends/girlfriends, retirees, DA civilians, and other interested community members who have an attachment to the group. Although membership is automatic, participation is voluntary. Getting members to actively participate in the FRG can be challenging. However, command support, fun activities, good communication, and sincere and effective leaders can help to increase participation. As a leader, keep in mind that group members are diverse. They include individuals of all ranks, genders, ages, races, religions, and cultural backgrounds. Some members may be single, married, dual military or single-parent families. Make sure to plan activities that allow all members to feel included. More information on Family Readiness Groups can be found in the Army Family Readiness Leader’s Handbook, which can be downloaded from the Army Community Service website at www.armycommunityservice.org or consult the other references listed here.

Question:
How can I get people to participate in our Family Readiness Group?

Answer:
Because participation in a Family Readiness Group (FRG) is voluntary, the only way to get people involved is to make it something that they want to be involved in. The first thing you need to do is to educate Soldiers, family members, etc. on the benefits of FRGs. As a unit commander, you can talk about FRGs at unit formations or command and staff meetings. You can speak to family members at coffees or during the unit organization day. As an FRG leader or publicity chairperson, you can create flyers and/or distribute newsletters about the FRG and what events are taking place. Meet new Soldiers and their families when they arrive and encourage them to participate. Coordinate transportation for them to the next FRG meeting or activity. These are just a few suggestions on how to get FRG members involved. Learn more about FRGs from the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook and the other resources listed.

Question:
How can the Army Family Team Building program benefit me?

Answer:
Army Family Team Building (AFTB) is a training program designed and delivered by family member volunteers. Level I classes are the backbone of the AFTB program. The focus of these classes is to help new military family members transition and adjust to the military lifestyle by teaching basic life skills and by providing information about the specific resources and differences one will find in their new Army environment. Level II is designed for those who typically have some experience as military family members and specifically for individuals who are interested in gaining or enhancing leadership skills. Courses that enhance their personal relationships, develop leadership skills, deal with crisis and conflict management, and improve communication skills comprise the core of Level II classes. Level III classes offer classes for individuals who seek to maintain and enhance current skills as well as develop more advanced leadership abilities. These classes include such topics as developing presentations and workshops, as well as looking at the big picture of the Army and how politics affects the military. Classes in all three levels are designed to encourage the development of mentor relationships and enhance networking opportunities. The skills taught in AFTB classes are by no means limited to the military environment but can be used in other areas of life. When and where a family member enters into the training is based on their experience or choice of course enrollment, not the rank or grade of the sponsor.

Question:
How can the Family Readiness Group (FRG) assist the unit command group with their sponsoship programs?

Answer:
The purpose of the Army Sponsorship Program is to ease a Soldier’s transition into the unit and his/her new military community. The Family Readiness Group (FRG) can assist the unit command group with their sponsorship programs by helping newcomers to the unit. For example, FRGs may have a welcoming committee, Family Sponsorship Coordinator, or Hospitality Chairperson who prepares welcome packets to distribute to new members of the unit (and FRG). This person or committee may also help connect the newcomer with an existing family (who has a similar family unit such as teenagers or young children) to provide support and assistance; contact and/or visit newcomers and make sure all newcomers are added to the FRG’s phonetree and newsletter mailing list.

Question:
How do I find out what type of religious services, activities, and educational resources are offered in my military community?

Answer:
Most (if not all) military communities publish this type of information in their Post Newspaper, on their installation website, or you can contact the specific agency whose activities you are interested in to find out what is offered and when.
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