|Image courtesy of Andy Newson /http://www.freedigitalphotos.net|
So what is the Family Readiness Program all about?
Well, first let's take a look at the command structure. The program is headed up by a FRO (Family Readiness Officer). This active duty Marine is part of the command. For USMC Recruiting Duty that is going to be the main recruiting station or the office that your spouses Commanding Officer is at. It is usually an enlisted Marine that helps pass information and connects with wives. Each sector of the recruiting command will have FRA, Family Readiness Assistants. These assistants are Marine Corps spouses that volunteer their time to work with Marine families.
So what do they do?
Each FRA has her own sector. She may have three or more Recruiting Substations that she takes care of depending on how far away each station is. Some FRA will travel over an hour to meet with Marine Wives at another Recruiting Station. Her main duties are to pass information from the command directly to the Recruiter's wife. Usually the information will be regarding events such as Family Day or the Marine Corps Ball, etc.
The FRA is also responsible for distributing Welcome Aboard packages to new Recruiters and their families. She can help incoming families with setting up child care, selecting a school district for children, finding a home, or other important information. She basically acts as a mentor, helping families learn about the area and connecting them with available resources in the community.
The FRA can also be a person to rely on if a spouse needs to vent or ask questions. Recruiting Duty is a challenging assignment and it can be overwhelming at first. The FRA can help wives understand the ins and outs of recruiting duty and listen when things get frustrating.
Overall there seems to be a lot of potential with the new Family Readiness Program. While on Marine Corps Recruiting Duty families may be far away from military installations and not have access to the facilities that they are accustomed to. Having someone to assist new families get acquainted with the community can be a life saver. The Family Readiness Assistant can assist with everything from finding a medical facility to a quality grocery store. Even knowing which grocery store has the best prices and produce can be a big help when moving to a new area.
Once you find out which command your husband will be assigned to search for the command's website. The site should have information regarding the Family Readiness Program and a point of contact. You can contact that person and see if they you can set up an appointment to meet with them when you arrive in the area. Or you can send a quick email introducing yourself and asking if they have any valuable information they can give you before you arrive. She should be able to send you a welcome package. Don't forget to ask for a recommendation for lodging when you arrive in the area!