A family readiness group (FRG) is an officially command-sponsored organization of family members, volunteers and soldiers belonging to a unit that provides an avenue of mutual support and assistance, and a network of communications among the family members, the chain of command and community resources. An FRG leader plans the activities and events to provide communication and support among the soldiers and family members. Include your members when planning the activities so they feel welcomed and included in the process.
Each unit sponsors a family day for the soldiers and their families. Soldiers are given the day off to spend with their families. This day is usually scheduled during warmer weather so the event can be planned outside. Activities for the day include relay races, obstacle courses and talent shows. Prizes can be given to the winners of the events. The FRG can rent a bounce house for the kids to play. The event can be potluck style or catered, depending on the amount of funds the FRG has in its account. Plan for a photographer to take pictures that can be emailed to the families or put in a unit scrapbook.
On-Post Community Events
Use your local Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) as a resource for free family activities on post. FMWR offers a monthly calendar of events, and most activities are free or low cost for the military community. Plan an FRG event using the FMWR calendar to provide activities that are accessible and reasonably priced. The religious communities on post also offer family events. If you participate in church on post, you may find activities that are available to all military community members. Army Community Services also offers activities for families. The movie theater offers free movie showings of recently released movies, which is also an option for an event for the FRG.
The FRG can plan a Christmas or holiday party as well as parties to celebrate birthdays and special events throughout the year. FRG funds, if available, can be used to provide a catered party with gifts for the kids and a Santa Claus. Potluck dinners can be planned to celebrate birthdays each month or quarter. Families will want to participate in the FRG if it provides creative and entertaining activities.
Arts and Crafts Time
Set up a craft day for the children of the soldiers. Find a large enough facility to hold the number of people willing to participate in the activity, and provide crayons, markers, poster board and any other necessary craft items. If the unit is deployed, set up this activity prior to redeployment. The children and spouses can decorate welcome home signs for their soldiers.
Based in Virginia, Amy Pike began her writing career in 2001 by publishing an article in the "Fort Lee Traveler." She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She holds Master of Arts degrees in social work from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and in mental health counseling from Webster University.