News: FRSAs strengthen ties at annual conference
Story by Spc. Nathan Thome
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Fort Carson Family Readiness Support Assistants attended their sixth annual FRSA Training Conference Oct. 10-12, at various locations in Colorado Springs and El Paso County.
The three-day conference, which took place at The Cliff House in Manitou Springs, the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 3917 in Colorado Springs, and the El Paso County Citizens Service Center, also in Colorado Springs, showed FRSA members 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 added.
FRSAs are full-time employees 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 involved 42 members, and included exercises to promote team building and group discussions about how to improve and expand FRGs.
The members were divided into six teams, each with their 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. Throughout the duration of the conference, Roy presented members who completed tasks and participated in discussions with pirate coins, which could be exchanged for “booty,” such as office supplies, skin care products, and other items, during breaks.
Throughout the conference, FRSAs invited Greg Cheyne, Military Family Life Consultant, MHN Government Services, and other guest speakers to talk about 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 Infantry Division also attended the conference.
“Fort Sill sent us here to see what FRSAs do at Fort Carson,” said Liz Knight, FRSA, 214th Fires Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. “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.”
FRSAs gained a stronger sense of connection with their fellow members through 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 team-building 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. The FRSAs wrapped up day one by synchronizing their costumes and team-building ideas in preparation for the remaining two days of their conference.
“The most important thing to remember as a FRSA, is that we are here to support soldiers and families,” said Melissa Hermosillo, 4th Infantry Division Headquarters FRSA. “Our most important job is to be engaged and a part of the unit, soldiers and their families."