FORSCOM's 'First Lady' stresses importance, unique role of Family Readiness Support A
February 23, 2010
- 300 people attended the Family Readiness training session hosted by the XVIII Airborne Corps.
- Family Readiness Support Assistants support a particular unit's commander and its volunteer Family Readiness Group leader.
- FRSAs are full-time administrative staff members who support unit commanders and help keep Family members informed.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Feb. 23, 2010) - U.S. Army Forces Command's "First Lady" emphasized the importance and the unique role of Family Readiness Support Assistants (FRSA) here today, during her remarks to the 300 attendees of the Family Readiness training session hosted by the XVIII Airborne Corps.
Mrs. Diane Campbell, wife of FORSCOM's commander Gen. Charles C. Campbell, expressed her and Gen. Campbell's appreciation to the attendees for what they do to help support Soldiers' Families. "We share your vision, encourage you, and (we) thank you for what you do," she said.
Mrs. Campbell also joined the discussion about the FORSCOM Family Readiness Support Assistants program. The Family Readiness Support Assistants, commonly referred to as FRSAs, are full-time administrative staff members who support unit commanders and help keep Family members informed about policies, programs and unit procedures that affect them and their Soldiers.
Maj. Elisabeth Litvin of the 82nd Airborne Division started the discussion about the FRSA program with a formal presentation, during which she described some of the common FRSA responsibilities:
Aca,!Ac Support a particular unit's commander and its volunteer Family Readiness Group leader;
Aca,!Ac Coordinate training for the rear detachment commander and FRG leader;
Aca,!Ac Maintain the critical communications link between the RDC and the FRG leader; coordinating responses about established community resources;
Aca,!Ac Assist the unit and volunteer FRG leader with publishing FRG newsletters, developing telephone trees, maintaining rosters, and coordinating FRG meeting times and locations;
Aca,!Ac Assist the commander with scheduling required briefings through all phases of the deployment cycle
Aca,!Ac Assist the commander with the establishment and maintenance of a virtual FRG.
During the subsequent discussion, Campbell and Litvin answered FRSA-related questions that ranged from evaluations, awards, comp time, and restrictions on FRSA as federal employees.
In particular, Campbell clarified the distinction between the volunteer FRG leader and the FRSA, while explaining the origin of the FRSA concept. She said senior spouses and FRG leaders had come to FORSCOM to express their concern that volunteer leaders were suffering burnout. As a result, units were experiencing difficulties finding replacements for the FRG leaders.
The FRG leaders, who are all volunteers, needed someone to set up meetings, arrange speakers, plan parties, help with training and serve as strategic link to resources in community. In short, Campbell said, they needed what has come to be known as an FRSA.
The FORSCOM FRSA program was implemented in 2004 to meet the need that was expressed by those senior spouses and FRG leaders. In 2006, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army determined the program to be mission essential. Then by 2009, the FRSA program had evolved to a point where the positions were made permanent on unit augmentation TDAs. That action resulted in the ongoing hiring actions at installations where FORSCOM units are stationed to meet deadlines for converting the FRSA positions to permanent Department of the Army civilian positions.
Campbell emphasized that as government employees, FRSAs are prohibited from participating in certain activities such as fund-raisers.
She said she also understands that some FRSAs feel pressure to participate in unit off-duty events such as parties and volunteer projects.
"While FRSAs are allowed to engage in those kind of activities, they should not be made to feel they're not part of the team when they don't," she pointed out. "Keep in mind the value of and need for FRSAs as an integral part of mission success."
At the conclusion of the half-day training session, Mrs. Campbell assisted XVIII Airborne Corps commander Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick in presenting "Commander's Awards for Public Service in Support of Families and Soldiers" to Tracy Curran for her work as the Fort Bragg representative to the North Carolina Chapter of Operation Home Front and to Joanne Chavon for co-founding the Fayetteville (N.C.) Cares organization.