Story and photo by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Forty-two Family readiness support assistants attended the sixth annual Fort Carson FRSA Training Conference Oct. 10-12, at various locations in El Paso County.
The three-day conference, which took place at The Cliff House in Manitou Springs and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3917 and El Paso County Citizens Service Center in Colorado Springs, showed attendees new ways to support their units.
FRSA members can take what they have learned and use it to help their unit and Soldiers, said Sally Garcia, FRSA, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. They work hand-in-hand with their unit Family readiness groups, supporting each other and their units by creating a stable FRG, coordinating company and battery-level events and other activities, she said.
The full-time employees are assigned as special command staff in select units and have met the qualifications designated by U.S. Army Forces Command.
The “Treasure Island”-themed conference included exercises to promote teambuilding and group discussions about how to improve and expand FRGs.
The members were divided into six teams, each with its own color and costume theme. Each team put together presentations on how to bolster unit participation within FRGs.
Connie Roy, installation FRSA program manager, said the conference helped FRSAs build and expand on ideas.
Greg Cheyne, Military Family Life Consultant, MHN Government Services, and other guest speakers shared services available to Soldiers and their Families; and the different roles of FRSAs, such as knowing their tasks, risk management and workplace safety, said Garcia.
FRSA members from other posts with units assigned to 4th Inf. Div. also attended the conference.
“Fort Sill (Okla.) sent us here to see what FRSAs do at Fort Carson,” said Liz Knight, FRSA, 214th Fires Brigade, 4th Inf. Div. “I’m hoping to take what I can from this conference to strengthen the cohesion of the FRSAs back at (Fort) Sill, and involve more Soldiers in the group.”
Attendees gained a stronger sense of connection with their fellow members by working together and enhancing each others’ skills.
“This conference helps to bring us together; a lot of us are in our own units so we don’t always have a lot of interaction with each other,” said Melissa Favero, FRSA, 52nd Engineer Battalion. “Brainstorming, learning from one another and building on ideas are probably the biggest things we get out of this.
“I come from a separate battalion where I’m one of the only civilians, so I think it’s nice to start building teams, the way the program was really meant to,” said Favero. “It helps when we build that network with other FRSAs who can help us with our FRG when we need it.”
After a full day of teambuilding and compiling notes to take back to their units, FRSAs readied themselves to put what they gained at the conference to good use with their unit FRG. They wrapped up day one by synchronizing their costumes and teambuilding ideas in preparation for the remaining two days of their conference.
“The most important thing to remember as an FRSA, is that we are here to support Soldiers and Families,” said Melissa Hermosillo, 4th Inf. Div. Headquarters FRSA. “Our most important job is to be engaged and a part of the unit, Soldiers and their Families.”