By Andrea Stone (Fort Carson)August 29, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- No news is good news. View all assignments as an adventure. Hurry up and wait. Have a sense of humor. These were all lessons learned by participants at the Army Family Team Building Level K class, Aug. 20.
The classes, offered regularly at Army Community Service, give Family members an opportunity to learn more about Army life. The program consists of three levels -- Level K, basic military knowledge; Level G, personal growth; and Level L, leadership development.
"I wish I would've known all this when I first became an Army spouse," said Rachael Smith, wife of Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, a Soldier stationed at Peterson Air Force Base. "I actually found the rank thing very helpful."
Frankie Williamson is a new Army spouse. She and her husband, Pfc. Anthony Williamson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Engineer Battalion, were married in April 2012, and he's been deployed since June.
"I want to know a lot more about the military because I feel clueless," she said. "I don't want to be the new girl that doesn't know (anything). I want to be independent and not rely on other people (for information)."
Adjusting to life as a military spouse can be difficult, especially for those who've never had any exposure to military life.
"One thing that's hard for spouses to understand when they first come in is, they can't be first. The military is first," said Jessica Carpenter, an AFTB instructor.
She encourages spouses to learn to be adaptable.
"Have a sense of humor, because you cannot change things," she said. "The only constant about the Army is change."
The program can even benefit those who've been military spouses far longer.
"It doesn't matter how long you've been in the Army, with these classes, you will learn something new," Carpenter said.
Geri Pete would agree. She and her husband, 1st Lt. Natani Pete, Company D, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have been married for 10 years.
"I never took the time to learn about (the Army) until now," she said. "Now that she's living on post, she's been more curious about military life.
"Learning about the culture is very important," she said.
Her daughter, Naomi Pete, joined her for the class.
"I would like to support my dad and just know more about (the Army)," Naomi Pete said.
The class, taught by ACS volunteers, helps spouses develop realistic expectations of the Army, educates them on the benefits of being in the military and teaches them protocol for events, such as ceremonies and balls.
"The classes are important in helping them really understand life as an Army Family and help them grow," said Nate Nugin, Family Enrichment program manager, ACS. "It also provides an opportunity to interact with other Family members in the class. It validates their feelings … They're not alone. There's other folks in the same place they are."