Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Red Dragon Deployment Fair

I think one of the most beneficial events a battalion can put together is one that prepares Soldiers and Families for upcoming separations. In our unit, we've tweaked the traditional Deployment Brief concept where Soldiers and Families sit in an auditorium and listen as a stream of presenters use PowerPoint to share their resources. This is such a good idea, but we felt that many were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information provided and began brainstorming ways to make this event more user-friendly. The result? A Deployment Fair. Very similar in concept, but very different in execution.

We asked our community resource points of contact to set up a booth with their information and any hand-outs they could provide our Families to let them know what assistance/resources they can provide during a deployment.  Each company-level FRG also set up a booth and were able to see each of their Soldiers and Family members face-to-face, even if for a few minutes.  This allowed them to check contact information and provide resources they had collected for their Families as well, including a collection of great information from Military OneSource.  Our Adopt-a-Unit sponsor, HEB of Copperas Cove, has always been on hand to host a booth and offered to provide bags for our Families to use to collect the information.

The format is simple.  Enter and find your FRG table, conveniently located near the front doors.  There, you check your contact information and receive a great bundle of information about dealing with deployments, stress, and what your FRG can provide during the separation.  You also receive your 'punch card' that lists all the organizations present to ensure that you hit all the tables.  After milling, enjoying refreshments, and gathering lots of valuable information, the battalion commander conducts a brief overview of the calendar and events and invites questions from Soldiers and Families.

The first Deployment Fair we hosted was in November of 2010 to prepare our Families for an upcoming rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center.  It was well-received by our Families.  Since then, we've hosted one other fair and have one more planned.  The feedback we've gotten is that this is a very beneficial way for our unit members and their Families to receive the information they need to successfully prepare for a deployment.  And that is exactly what we are going for.

Welcome to the 3-82 FA Deployment Fair.
Deployment Fair Card to make sure you don't miss any information.

So happy to have our Adopt-a-Unit sponsor with us!

HHB FRG table
Golf Company FRG table
Bravo Battery FRG table
Alpha Battery FRG table
Our chaplain and his lovely bride
A Soldier checks out the MWR booth.
After browsing of booths, Nate addresses questions from Families.

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