Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Senior FRG Advisor/FRSA Relationship

Elena, Debbie, and me after a grueling session organizing the FRG Closet.
I know there is a lot of debate about the Family Readiness Support Assistants in the Army.  For a fairly new program, it certainly has sparked strong emotions on both sides.  Some feel that they are the best things since cannons and we could never live without them ... others feel they are a red-tape nightmare, full of drama and lists of "things I cannot do for you."

For me, I have seen some of the best and worst of FRSA traits and believe that each unit should be responsible for integrating their FRSA into their Family programs in the way that makes the most sense for them.  Clearly, that does not always happen, but when it does, it is a beautiful thing.

Our unit currently has an absolutely fantastic FRSA.  She is professional, efficient, friendly, and committed to the Soldiers and Families of our battalion.  Because she has been so beneficial in our Family program, I honestly cannot imagine how we could have endured this deployment without her.  I clearly remember the days before FRSAs, but I am very happy I didn't have to go without one during our time in this battalion.

As the senior FRG Advisor, I work closely with our FRSA and we have established a solid working relationship.  I suppose it doesn't hurt that our personalities mesh well together and we actually like each other, but we've always managed to work together to achieve the FRG goals set for our unit.

One of the strengths of our relationship is that we complement each other's skill sets.  We're able to talk about and delineate the various tasks, each taking the ones that we can do best.  We also learn from each other.  She has taught me a lot about procedures, rules, and regulations needed for a functioning FRG.  She says I've taught her to be more diplomatic and gracious under pressure.

One of the biggest factors in our working relationship, however, is mutual respect.  I respect her position as a staff member in the unit and she, in turn, respects my opinions about FRG matters.  Neither of us outranks the other or feels the need to be "in charge" of the decisions being made.  We both focus on the needs of our Soldiers and their Families and in the end, it all works out well.

Please don't think we have the perfect FRG program ... I'm not sure such a thing exists.  We have our fair share of Family issues, personality conflicts and the like, but we also have a solid group of volunteers who truly care about Soldiers and Families and an FRSA who stands ready to help however she can.  That is more than I could have ever hoped for and something I will always cherish whenever I think back on this chapter in our Army lives.

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