MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Family Readiness officers and volunteers from the Western Recruiting Region attended the annual Joint Family Readiness Conference at the depot’s Command Museum, July 12 to 15.
“Our objective is to give FROs the tools and resources they need to be effective at their jobs,” said Natalie B. Francisco, director, Marine Corps Family Team Building. “It also gives FROs of WRR an opportunity to come together and exchange feedback with each other to see what is working and what isn’t.”
Those attending the conference were 8th, 9th and 12th Marine Corps Districts FROs, deputy FROs, Family Readiness volunteers, depot FROs and volunteers from the depot.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Unmasking the Possibilities.”
The theme was inspired by the families whose Marines are fulfilling their duty to the Corps, requiring long hours and traveling away from home.
“It’s our duty to find ways to unmask the possibilities and see what we can do to help families stay strong,” said Francisco.
Francisco’s challenge to the FROs is to help those in charge make their families feel that their current duty station is the best duty station they have ever been, she said.
This includes recruiters, public affairs Marines, administrative Marines, civilians and families at the recruiting stations, said Francisco.
“The concept of family is not exclusive to spouses and children,” said Francisco. “It can be parents, who can be a part of the Family Readiness Program as well.”
It seems that the younger generation parents are more involved in the Marines’ lives, she said. Parents can get involved in the FRP and receive newsletters, informing them what is happening in their Marine’s chain of command.
“For us, family is defined as the family you are born into, the family you are sworn into and the family that you marry into,” said Francisco.
During the conference, FROs learned about ways to help families through marketing, Military One Source, the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program, 7-Habits, Lifestyle insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program (L.I.N.K.S), and Marine and Family Services.
Marketing emphasized how FROs can market what the programs offer and attract families to their program, Francisco said.
FROs put a marketing plan together to help them think about their approach on promoting their program, said Francisco.
During a presentation by Military One Source representative, FROs learned that MilitaryOne Source.com offers a plethora of resources for active-duty and families, including information pertaining to military life and deployment, financial and legal issues, as well as health and relationships.
“As Marines, we don’t know all the information and resources available to us, including everything One Source offers,” said Master Sgt. Duvan J. Forero, assistant recruiting instructor, Recruiting Station Houston. “Even I wasn’t aware of all the free classes like stress management and family counseling. In addition, books and audio books are available to order for free with Miliatary One Source.”
Following the presentation from Military One Source, FROs learned PREP is offered by the
Marine Corps Family Team Building staff and chaplains. PREP encompasses strategies that can help couples build a stronger and more rewarding marriage or relationship though communication, trust, listening effectively and problem solving.
Seven-Habits are concepts from the book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Convey, and were introduced as a blend of exercises and logical thinking to help create healthy family relationships. An ongoing class based on the Seven-Habits is offered by the Family Readiness Division.
L.I.N.K.S. was also explained as a program that provides a positive environment for Marines and their families to learn to manage the demands of the Marine Corps lifestyle and to work together in balancing family needs along with meeting expectations of the Corps.
During the L.I.N.K.S. orientation, experienced and knowledgeable Marine Corps spouses mentored participants and shared information using small group discussion and interactive activities to help achieve understanding the Marine Corps mission, as well as successfully meeting the challenges of Marine Corps lifestyle.
“If families know where the resources are, they can become self sufficient,” said Francisco. “This makes the Marine’s life better, which can help them do their mission more effectively.”
It’s important for FROs to be knowledgeable of all the resources so they can recommend certain programs based on a families situation and needs, Francisco said.
“What I found most valuable during the conference was all the information that could be very useful for Marines and their families,” said Forero. “It’s important for the FROs to be knowledgeablemand have access to information and resources because that is who Marines and their families go to for assistance. Without FROs, they may not know where to go to access that big pool of information,” he said.
He said he hopes everyone uses the valuable information they got here and gives it to their families, said Forero.
The conference has been held annually for at least nine years in a row, which has been as long as Francisco has been working on the depot. It began as the Quality of Life Conference, and then was referred to as the Joint Depot/WRR Key Volunteer Conference before being known as the Joint Family Readiness Conference.
For more information about Marine Corps Family Team Building and Family Readiness, call (619)-524-0916.