July 25, 2007

There's tons to do ... if you take the time to look!

Sometimes I manage to work a project here at the newspaper in my favor ... and this one I am pretty excited about, but a little background first.
During deployment here at Fort “Middle of Nowhere” I would hazard a guess that maybe 50 percent of the families go back “home” or to where their families are. With the recent increase to 15 month deployments there is reasonable cause to believe that these numbers could rise, which could be a problem for the economy. If you think about it, when our battalion deployed it left with 1,200 Soldiers. Not that is approximately 600 families (spouse and multiple children) leaving the area. Now there could be any number of battalions deployed at a time, but for math sake, let’s say that 5 are deployed ... that’s 3,000 families leaving the area and as I mentioned before we are in the middle of nowhere, as are many military installations (cheaper land!) That means that the base is a valuable source of income for the local community. But in the Army’s point of view, that is also 3,000 families that the units have the potential to loose contact with leaving them and their Soldier “disconnected” from what is going on. It is hard enough to see Soldiers come home with no one to greet them, but if their families could not be reached to notify them they are coming home ... well you see how sad that would be. But that is just one example of the problems that could occur.
So in it’s defense, the Army works HARD to ensure that families are not neglected when their Soldier deploys. That is why they implemented Family Readiness Groups, Morale and Welfare activities and the Army Community Service program which offers things such as new parent programs, financial counselors, volunteer programs, and so forth. That is where the fun comes in for me.
They have been trying to find programs and such to entice families to stay especially those school age children so they are not transferring schools and more than they have to. Last week I asked my boss if i could participate in a few programs and then write a commentary on my experiences ... she said “yes.” But here is the fun part, I get to do these programs “on the clock!” That’s right, so today is my first one ... I am going to the weekly sewing class. They have projects each week or you can bring your own. I’m a little excited. I am also going to a couple of exercise class offered by the post gym, taking a lunchtime stress management class, find some project to volunteer at and a few others. There is also arts and crafts classes offered at the ... Arts and Crafts Center (I know that one was hard to figure out!)
It’s is really great. During the last deployment I was busy working on my masters but with that nearly complete, there are a lot of things I can do during the upcoming deployment. I really pushed some of my spouses to get involved when the guys were gone last year and they enjoyed it. There are tons of classes or children below school-age like toddler playtime and infant massage classes.
there are a variety of reasons why people go home, I had a 19-year-old pregnant with TWINS! I definitely knew she would need her family’s support, but she moved back after the girls were born and the guys were home soon after that. But for those who choose to stay, there are a lot of things to do to keep busy. There's tons to do ... if you take the time to look! The arch enemy of the spouse of a deployed Soldier is boredom. That whole “idle hands” thing gets some in trouble.

2 Tea Party Guest:

stitcherw said...

Sounds like there is a lot going on. Hopefully you can help others in the area to see all the various opportunities that are there for fun and support while they try to deal with the seperation.

lime said...

man i want a job where i get paid to go to a sewing class. cna ya hook me up with some of that action???

just catching up, love the pics of sgt major and yes i think youshoudl drop him off at the office to visit for the day to make your point ;)