By Samantha CeballosAugust 29, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Chocolate, friends and plenty of opportunities to stay busy were the dominant themes of the day as more than 200 spouses attended the Patriot Spouses Club's (PSC) annual Super Sign Up day Aug. 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Graham Resilency Training Center.
During the event, spouses could join the club and learn more about the many activities that exist at Fort Sill and surrounding communities.
Spouses were treated to small treats while they perused through various local organizations for information. The PSC organized the event originally as a membership drive, but Laura Fleming, PSC first vice president, said it ended up much larger in scope.
"We were able to help community organizations connect with volunteers and had a great time doing it," she said. "The takeaway is that contributing to your community is important, there are many ways to do it and plenty of organizations to get involved with."
"I talked to a lot of ladies and got invited to lunch at the Lawton Country Club by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), said Lynda Thompson, who moved with her family to Fort Sill a month ago. "I found it all interesting, since I haven't met anyone since I got here."
Tessa Freeman, another spouse, said the information was very useful to her and connected her with some activities she previously didn't know about. She was looking for more information about how to sign her kids up for Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts.
Several participants won door prizes donated by local vendors, many of whom were military spouses themselves.
Some of the winners were:
Stephanie Adams - gift certificate from Tabitha Ann Photography;
Mary Stevens - Pampered Chef gift donated by Angela Walters;
Stephanie Adams - Origami Own gift certificate donated by Jennifer Mix;
Amanda Alexander - Tastefully Simple gift bag donated by Regan Kirk;
Ashley Garrett - TurboFire DVD workout program donated by Cierra Syndergaard;
Amanda Alexander - USA sign donated by Vinyl Vocabulary;
Lynda Thompson - Jamberry gift certificate donated by Stephanie Adams;
Amy Perry - Pampering basket donated by Soul To Soul;
Leah Lauterberg - cloth diaper donated by Jessie Schuster of Jessie's Diapers; and
Kelly Russell - a painted Americana bucket donated by Jennifer Dvoracek.
Everyone received information about where to connect with other spouses and how to become more involved. Some of the nonprofit community organizations showcased were Army Community Services, Army Family Action Plan, Protestant Women of the Chapel, the 580 RollerGirls, Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, Lawton Food Bank, Rainbow girls, MOAA, a local homeschool co-op, Paws For Love Dog Therapy, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, The Lawton Heritage Society and Operation Homefront. In all, people from 27 organizations were present.
Many of the spouses who came through the event stated they didn't know about several of the organizations featured that day and really enjoyed the wide range of groups highlighted.
"There were quite a few things on post to do," said Josie Trejo.
She was interested in finding activities to keep her little one busy, such as playgroups. Trejo also signed up to volunteer with Reconnect, Fort Sill's consolidated religious education program. This group hosts Wednesday night dinners followed by religious classes.
Trejo commented that she found "all the support that I never knew Fort Sill had, that I wasn't aware of before. I like the Jane Wayne Day Luncheon. That's something that interests me."
For the volunteers from the PSC, getting to see old and new faces alike come through the door was a great benefit of the day. These ladies, some of whom are new to the club, enjoyed the day together in service while getting to know each other a little better. They also interacted with spouses who were new to Fort Sill and helped them find their way.
"I'm glad I got over here. I got the Salvation Army and Scouting information I was looking for and also signed up for bunco club," said Jennifer Switaj, who just arrived here with her family this summer.
Everyone was pleased with the setup and presentation of information, and the resources the PSC offered. Some spouses came out to get information and left only to return later with a friend or two so they too could gain helpful information. Volunteers remarked how seamlessly everything flowed.
By the end of the day, many area organizations had full volunteer rosters of spouses willing to help out. The spouses club also had many new members excited about the year ahead.
The kickoff event marked the start of a new year for PSC. For those spouses who joined the club, they can look forward to monthly luncheons with fun themes such as an aloha welcome in September and a Jane Wayne obstacle course in October. Also, there will be interest groups such as bunco, a book club, Oklahoma day trips and more starting up soon. Many opportunities will be available to volunteer with fundraisers that help support the scholarship fund.
Spouses who couldn't attend the Super Sign Up day and want more information about the club should visit www.fortsillpsc.org.