There was a time that I didn’t understand why some spouses were dead set against joining the ranks of their FRG, until I experienced it first hand.
The most recent FRG Leader that I served under before our recent pcs was an ex soldier who had some kind of competitive streak going with her husband. She treated us volunteers like we were her husband’s soldiers. It was rare that we got a thank you, or a please and we were always just “voluntold” what to do. Of course we didn’t appreciate this and It wasn’t a very good environment, but we really cared about the families and ignored it as much as we could until we had enough and resigned our positions. It was disheartening and after that stint, I had swore to myself that I would NOT get involved in FRGs from that moment on.
Then we got PCS orders overseas.
Once we got here, I was still adamant of no involvement in the FRG. I remember going as far as telling my husband that I would “sit this one out.” when it came to the deployment and being involved.
The first FRG event that i was attended with our new unit here was the Company Halloween Party and I was impressed beyond words. I’ve never seen anything like it. This Halloween party wasn’t your generic store bought cupcakes and sugar loaded goody bags…oh no! It was Bradley rides, a haunted house almost too scary for myself, games, pumpkin carving, hot food, and an updated version of bobbing for apples where they cored the apples shortly before the game, tied them to cords hanging from the ceiling, and anyone could have a bite at it, even the Lt. got involved. I was in FRG heaven.
During the FRG events that followed the Halloween Party my feelings kept growing and growing, but despite the crush that I had developed on my FRG, I still maintained the anti-involvement mind frame and just sat back and observed.
Eventually I noticed things that began changing my mind. The one thing that sealed the deal for me was the outgoing FRG Leaders passion. When she was hosting an event or talking to a bashful wife, you could see her passion and her patience and that she wanted to be there, and it was contagious. Her passion paired with the resources available to the FRG and the percentage of involvement with the families made me feel like this FRG was something special and I would be stupid to not be a part of it.
It was shortly after the new year when I became an official part of the FRG. I am so glad that I took the time to sit back and observe before my misconceptions hindered my FRG experience forever.
This is my suggestion to you today. If you are at a place right now where you are at a new duty station, with a new FRG, and are against joining because of a previous FRG, than do yourself a favor and just take some time to observe it for a while. Pay close attention to how the Leader interacts with the spouses and take note of the amount of involvement with the families. I almost made the mistake of thinking one FRG equals ALL the FRGs, and I’m glad that I learned that it doesn’t.