Breaking down Unit Volunteer roles…FRO’s, FRA’s, Advisor’s oh MY!
Are you a outgoing, upbeat, self starting, go getter? Love to be in the center of things & know whats going on? Volunteering for your husband unit maybe for YOU!
The first or second time you are at a unit sponsored event; it may seem awkward. Believe me I know how uncomfortable it is being sociable with new people in a military environment which can be a little intimidating even for a people person like me. You’re new, you don’t know anyone or what is going on with the wives and volunteer program in the unit. Make sure your Marine make an effort to introduce you to those in attendance whether junior or senior. It will eventually get easier but a smile and friendly conversation is welcomed & appreciated by all. Being sociable is definitely better than being the holding-up-the-wall, standoffish, unsocialable kind of girl. Since this is your new “family” make sure you meet the FRO (Family Readiness Officer) and his or her team.
If you’ve read the Homesick blog post you know how I was when I first moved here & I learned the hard way that there is strength in numbers so introduce yourselves to all of these people. They will be the ones who will help you in good times and bad for small and large issues. If you wish to volunteer and be active now is the time to get a name and number to offer your assistance via email at a later time.
There are quite a few volunteer positions readily available within the command depending on your availability. Family Readiness Advisors, Family Readiness Assistants, Family Readiness Volunteers, and Event Volunteers are just a few that help out the command and Marines in various ways at various times of the year.
Family Readness Team:
Family Readiness Officer (FRO) is the one who is basically your liasion for all things Marine Corps. He/She is a source for unit information, base & local events, base & area resources, ect. The FRO works with the unit to plan how simple or extravagant the events will be for the most part. Some events can be very detail oriented and some have been plain and simple both have good reasoning to make it easier on the guests or command. Google can probably help find alot of military resources now a days too but the FRO is available for unit specific inquiries as well. Need to know when they are having their next unit wife luncheon, going out into the field, on work ups, deploying, ect? If the FRO can release it & has that information they will let you know. This person can be outstanding at her job go above and beyond the definition of FRO & sometimes you’ll have a FRO that is complacent and not very gung-ho about doing things other than the bare minimum of whats required. Try to invigorate that FRO with your energy & bright & new ideas.
Assistant Family Readiness Officers/Deputy Family Readiness Officers (AFRO’s & DFRO’s) assist the FRO’s in any way they need it. If they need logisitical help planning an event for a homecoming or luncheon they do it.
Family Readiness Advisors are typically the higher up wives of each company as well as the Col’s wife. They basically assist the FRO and aid the FRA’s as well as perform other duties as needed.
Assistants (FRA’s) assist the FRO with the family’s needs of their specific company or squad. Alot of times the FRO is swapped with the job that emails & phone calls she can make FRA’s can too so the job is delegated to her assistants to do. Example: ECHO Co wives, parents or family members need a phone number or address to the commissary, MCCS, or base stables the company; FRA’s are here for you. FRA’s also assist the FRO with more complex needs depending on your specific FRO’s confidence in your skills and knowledge of the Marine Corps resources and wives requests. There should be 2+ FRA’s for each company or squad in the battalion.
Unit Volunteers assist at events which require numerous people for various activities, games, handing out items, decoration, ect. It is a great position to take stress off of the FRO and isn’t a committed position such as the FRA. Either way there are meetings every few weeks or so to keep everyone in on the happenings of the command and to assist the FRO in pre-planning for events.
You may look at these opportunities above and ask yourself why volunteer?! Will I impact my husbands job if I screw something up? Why get out of my PJ’s and go and help alot of people I don’t know and won’t spend that much time with anyways. Some people complain about the way things work and don’t educate themselves on why it is that way or try and help to modify the situation. I did the latter of those two.
I wouldn’t be the person I am right now if I hadn’t had been exposed to some very good people after my arrival here. I let myself be open to the possibilities of helping. I loved that I could put some of my communication and customer service skills to good use. I didn’t just say I wanted to help I took the initiative to go to the FRA Intro classes at MCCS (Marine Corps Community Services), L.I.N.K.S courses and took the privacy test needed in order to help with our unit. I made sure to help our FRO at every location and in between as well because there is always something that can be done. I hope every Marine wife knows that this is a family organization and no matter if you’re husband is deployed, at home, WIA, or KIA we are all here for each other and as wives stronger with each other than apart. We gain strength and knowledge knowing what each other is going through especially from the experienced ladies.