Family Readiness Support Assistant (FRSA)
FRSA works at the brigade level directly for the brigade commander, coordinate and assist Family Readiness Group (FRG) leaders, Military Point of Contacts (MPOC), and Rear Detachment Commanders (RDC) by providing training and hands-on assistance for establishing and maintaining an effective FRG within the brigade. The FRSA is the brigade commander’s subject matter expert on all things FRG.
To empower commanders in their duty to deliver the Total Army Family Program so that Soldiers and Families are entitled, informed, educated, assisted, and made ready for the unique demands of military life before, during, and after deployment.
History of the FRSA Program
Family Readiness Support Assistants (FRSAs) were originally placed at Active Army brigades in 2003 after the Army realized the stress of multiple deployments was taking a toll on Family Readiness Group (FRG) volunteers. The FRSA Program was expanded in 2007 to reach more Army Commands in all three components, Active, Army Reserve, and National Guard.
Currently there are 250 FRSAs in all 54 States, US Territories, and the District of Columbia. The FRSA program is overseen by the Army National Guard's G1 Human Resource Family Division.
Mikie Hoeye (Senior FRSA) 98th AVN TRP CMD/JFHQ
Angela Buess 198th RSG
Anne Olson-Comisky 158th MEB
Family Readiness Groups (FRGs)
Did you know that the Army National Guard has a full-time Family-program coordinator in every state to help improve the quality of life for Families? Many units also have a Family Readiness Group and a network of volunteers that work with the unit leadership, members and their Families to develop Family programs that best meet their needs.
For example, organizing a baby-sitting coop, finding part-time jobs for teenagers, locating help for substance abuse, welcoming new Families to the unit, and offering a tax filing seminar. These are just a few things that Guard Families have accomplished. The program also helps Families prepare for separations due to mobilization, training, or other emergencies. NGR 600-12 is the reference for developing a program at unit level.
Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) help Families meet the challenges of military life.
- Families of service members - Families get together through the unit's FRG. They share many types of practical and emotional support.
- Families and the military - An FRG forms an important link that helps Families, service members and the military.
Each FRG is a voluntary organization that determines its own goals and activities. The FRG helps its members to:
- Communicate with each other and the military. An FRG provides a chance to ask questions, and express ideas and concerns.
- Share the volunteer work and activities that make military life easier and more rewarding.
- Support each other. People who understand military life are a source of strength and comfort to one another.
Who Can Belong To An FRG?
Anyone interested in the military and its members:
- Spouses and Children
- Boyfriends and girlfriends
- Friends and relatives
- Retired service members - from all branches of the military
- Members of the community - who want to help military personnel
- Service members, themselves - of all ranks.
Why Is An FRG So Important?
- During normal duty, an FRG forms a strong network of Families and military personnel. This network helps prepare Families for mobilization or deployment, and it helps ensure that all arrangements are complete.
- During mobilization or deployment, the network helps support Families. The FRG and the military work together to help Families get what they need. Service members are better able to concentrate on their duties when they don't have to worry about Family matters.
How To Start An FRG
If there isn't an FRG at your unit level, it only takes one person to get the ball rolling!
- Go through the chain of command. Contact the unit commander. You'll learn about regulations and get valuable help.
- Get others involved. FRGs depend on volunteers, even though the service provides support. Talk to friends and neighbors about the group, and listen to their ideas. Your enthusiasm can inspire others.
- Publicize your first meeting. Use newsletters and other approved military channels, as well as newspapers, radio and posters. Remember - people can't get involved if they don't know what's happening.
Make The Most Of Military Support
Regulations for different units vary, but always:
- Get approval for activities. Go through proper channels, especially for activities that involve fund raising and use military facilities.
- Keep necessary records. Unit regulations may require written records of finances, and of any use of military equipment or facilities.
- Work with a volunteer coordinator. It's important to have a person in charge of volunteers, including seeking new ones.
- Use military facilities when available. Many units allow FRGs to use office space, telephones, copy machines, transportation, mail privileges and other unit resources.
Choose Activities That Meet Your Needs
Whether starting an FRG or planning activities for an existing one, there are many options from which to choose.
- A "telephone tree" is a quick, reliable way to relay unit information from Family to Family by phone.
- Open houses help people meet others and understand unit goals.
- Family Days provide activities that involve everyone in the business and fun of the military Family.
- Sponsorship programs help Families and service members "settle in" when joining a new unit.
- Fitness activities are fun for service members and Families -- and good for them, too!
- Trips provide chances to learn and socialize.
- Community projects reach out to people outside the unit.
- Visits to training sites, bases and armories allow a closer look at the service member's job and surroundings.
- Employer programs help employers understand and support the requirements of military life.
- A newsletter can help everyone stay informed about unit news and FRG events.
- Workshops and classes can provide important skills and helpful advice.
Some Questions and Answers
- We're members of other community groups. Why should we get involved in an FRG?FRGs involve Families who share the unique challenges of military life. Few other groups can provide the same kind of support to the people who serve our country.
- Is a service member's career affected by Family participation in an FRG? No. FRGs are purely voluntary and don't affect career advancement. The people who benefit most are the Families who get involved.
- Are FRGs the same as military spouses' clubs or social clubs? No. FRGs involve the entire Family, as well as people from the community. Also, FRGs are open to personnel of all ranks. And FRGs are organized and directed by their own members.
- Why doesn't the commanding officer order members to join? FRGs are made up of people who want to be involved. Ordering all service members to join wouldn't necessarily add to the enthusiasm or effectiveness of FRGs.
- Will FRGs replace the work of some service members? FRGs work with other military Family services, rather than replacing them.
Your FRG depends on volunteer energy.
- Offer your time and talents. Everyone has skills to offer - from organizing programs to typing newsletters.
- Attend meetings and activities regularly. Help your FRG become a success by staying involved.
- Share Ideas. The best way to make sure the FRG meets your needs is to let people know what you want. Remember - the FRG relies on its members for direction.
Extend Your Family Through an FRG!
- Find out about your FRG or about how to start one.
- Get involved in activities and planning.