By Devon L. Suits, Army News ServiceOctober 15, 2019
WASHINGTON -- Social support and connection have a direct tie to readiness, as the Army looks for ways to build a sense of community among Soldiers and their families, officials said.
To better support, the Army recently transitioned to the Soldier and Family Readiness Group, allowing single Soldiers and parents, and other non-traditional families, access to FRG resources, said Col. Steve Lewis, family programs branch manager with the organization formerly known as Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, now G-9.
Through the new SFRG, Army G-9 also instituted several overarching objectives, Lewis said during a family forum at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition. For starters, the SFRG will be "simple and flexible," while commanders maintain authority and oversight of the organization.
Many spouses reported having troubles navigating military resources, or finding the right point of contact during times of need, according to a recent survey. Further, spouses of junior enlisted Soldiers, or spouses that lived farther from their installation, reported having issues accessing or receiving resources or information.
To support, the SFRG aims to make connections and communication a core tenant of the organization, Lewis said. Commanders already employ effective communication skills to build and develop their units. Therefore, they should use these same skills to help uplift their Soldiers and families.
"We continue to recognize that this is just the beginning of the shift away from the [previous FRG] program," he said. Changes to the SFRG will be an iterative process, "focused on Soldiers and families by bringing them together [and providing them] with a lot of great information and resources."
As a military spouse, Elizabeth Groover and her four kids had to navigate their fair share of deployments, hardship tours, and temporary duty assignments. At times, she would lean on her network of military spouses for support.
"Resiliency means that we take on every adversity," Groover said during the forum. "We do what we have to do because our Soldiers and our kids need us. I don't think that's ever going to change. It speaks a lot about the strength of our military spouses."
In all, Groover is grateful to be part of the broader community and encourages other military spouses to continue to make an impact.
"As military spouses, I feel that we're blessed to be a part of one of the greatest communities on the planet," Groover said. "I know that's a little biased, but I believe that. We know how to encourage and inspire. We shared love and loss and fear for each other."