By Wendy Brown (USAG Wiesbaden)August 16, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - It was the first V Corps spouses' night out that Priscilla Washington had attended since her husband left for Afghanistan, and she had a big smile on her face.
Washington, along with three other women, had met V Corps family readiness events coordinator Jennifer Kuhar for a spouses' night out of bowling at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center July 27. "It's a good way to get out of the house and do something different," Washington said.
Although the V Corps deployment to Afghanistan started about three months ago, the organization's family readiness groups are going strong, and it is not too late to get involved.
It is important for family members of deployed Soldiers to keep in touch with V Corps through the family readiness groups because they are the only channel of official information, said Lt. Col. Michelle Clark, V Corps Rear Detachment commander. "It's a good program," Clark said. "It's like a lot of things -- you get out of it what you put into it."
Also, V Corps officials are making special efforts to keep family members informed, Clark said.
Brig. Gen. Ricky D. Gibbs, deputy commander of V Corps, held a town hall meeting via video on July 17 to answer questions and give family members an idea of what life is like for Soldiers in Afghanistan, Clark said.
Gibbs hopes to make the town hall meetings a once-a-month event, Clark said, and has tentatively scheduled another for Aug. 20. Anyone interested in attending should contact the family readiness group leader for details.
Colleen Long, headquarters company family readiness group leader, said family readiness groups are a wonderful way to meet people, and the events for spouses particularly help.
"It's a good way to stay connected and find out information and what's going on," Long said.
Kuhar said there are family readiness group events happening every week, and people can find out about them by getting in touch with her, an FRG leader or by reading the V Corps newsletter "Tour de Force."
Events have included a dinner at the Brauhaus Castel in Mainz-Kastel, a trip to the Ebental Hof Ponyland in Rüdesheim and a dinner at the Thai restaurant Brown Sugar in Wiesbaden, among others, Kuhar said.
Kuhar said she tries to schedule events for spouses on nights when Child, Youth and School Services have a Parents Night Out. Parents can use their respite care hours at CYS, which cuts down on babysitting expenses, she said.
Conversely, she avoids scheduling anything on CYS's Saturday child care events, so parents can take advantage of the six hours of child care to run errands or make the trip to Ramstein, Kuhar said.
"It's a really good way to meet spouses who are going through the same thing you are," Kuhar said. "It's a good networking tool, and really, it's just fun."
It is also not necessary to be a V Corps spouse to attend. Friends of spouses are also welcome.
Leandrea Detheridge, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade spouse, said she has accompanied her friend Sherry DeGroot to several events, including the bowling event.
"It's good for the women to get out and keep their minds busy," said Detheridge. Her husband has deployed twice, she said, and she knows what it is like.
Upcoming V Corps FRG events include making care packages at the USO Cottage on Hainerberg Housing at 6 p.m. Aug. 24, a board game night Sept. 7, an FRG forum Sept. 12, a spouse combat day Oct. 3 and a Halloween party Oct. 12.
Under the umbrella of the battalion FRG, V Corps has four company-level family readiness groups. To find out which group to contact, call Candice Lane, V Corps family readiness support assistant, at civ (0611) 705-2121 or email at Candice.firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out about upcoming events, contact Kuhar at civ (0151) 5208-7405 or email@example.com.
For more information about Parents' Night Out, Super Saturday or respite care, call Child, Youth and School Services at mil 337-7928, civ (0611) 705-7928, or stop by Clay Kaserne Building 1215.