FRG events always get a bad rap. They are supposed to be a nice time to get together with other spouses of your own spouse’s company. You are supposed to connect, get to know one another, and learn about important information. Instead, they can be boring, drama-filled. . . and something you want to avoid.
Instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, why make your FRG events the way they should be? Why not take back these events so that we can use them to thrive as military spouses and to learn from one another?
How can we do this? Here are some ideas!
Good planning will make for a better FRG event. Have a firm start time and a finish time. Having an organized event will go a long way. Structure will also give everyone a purpose throughout the evening; and when people are entertained and engaged, there’s usually less opportunity for drama.
Alternate day and night events
Make sure you have some events during the day and some at night. You can’t please everyone but when events are always at the same time, that can mean some people are never able to attend.
Find engaged volunteers
When running a good FRG event, the key is having volunteers who want to be there: People who are willing to help, get things done, and make the event the best it can be.
Keep drama in check
Drama can be an FRG event’s biggest downfall. Be respectful yourself, and if someone is causing issues in the FRG, figure out what is going on and how things can change. The less drama your FRG has, the better experience it will be for everyone.
Give out the info but make it fun
The worst type of FRG event is one where information is given out. Folks leave with the sense that all of the info could have been put in an email. For those who attend, find babysitters, and make the trip, that can be frustrating. Make your events fun, even if they include boring information, too.
Right amount of time
If FRG events go too long, people can feel that and will tend to go home early anyway. Keep speakers to a reasonable length or people will tune out. Try to avoid keeping people waiting. . . whether it is for food or to get started.
Think outside the box
Go beyond the norm and be creative. Take a look at what’s available in your local community and go from there. Some spouses never have the chance to get out and enjoy their duty station. Some spouses are afraid to do so alone. An FRG event can provide camaraderie and a reason to try something new.
Keep things simple
Keeping things simple is best. You don’t have to make every event an elaborate affair. A potluck or even pizza dinner can make for a perfect night. Don’t feel like you need to spend all of the FRG’s money or go all out in order to get people to come. Keep things simple and fun; that will go a long way in creating a friendly atmosphere for all who attend.
By Julie Provost
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.