Monday, April 22, 2013

air force life: key spouse program

My husband and I started dating in college and, since he was in ROTC, I knew that if things got serious, I'd end up as an Air Force wife.  We had many conversations about the military. Would he just fill his commitment or he make it a career?  How did I feel about potentially moving every few years and putting our future children though that?  How would we balance my educational/career dreams with Air Force life?

One thing we agree on though:  if we were going to be in, we were going to be all in.  Many people talk about the military community and we knew that we wanted to participate in that.

Well...we had some disappointments.  Sometime maybe I'll share those stories, but for now I'll just say that people were not as welcoming or friendly as we had hoped.  It was discouraging, but we also knew that we could be a small difference.  In other words, instead of complaining about how people weren't welcoming to us, we could be welcoming to others and be a very tiny catalyst for change.


A very, very basic description of a key spouse is that they are a liaison between the spouses and the squadron leadership, especially focused on families who have a deployed service member. 

My husband's squadron is supposed to have several key spouses, but when we came it just so happened that no one was filling that role, so I decided/was asked to take it over.  The link above provides good information about the key spouse program, so you can read that if you're interested in more.  I'll just give a summary here of what I do.

First I had to be "appointed" by the commander of my husband's squadron and then I had a meeting with him and the First Sergeant to make sure we were all on the same page.  Then I went through training (provided by the base) and learned about the job and learned about all the different agencies on base that provide support for families.  Let me tell you, there are SO many programs!  It was a little overwhelming, but awesome to hear about all the ways that military families can get help.  There are a variety of counseling options, a support program for new parents, free childcare if someone is deployed to name just a few.

While I've been a Key Spouse, here's what I've been doing (right now I'm just working with the families who have a deployed spouse/parent).

  • every other week we deliver homemade meals to give the parents a night off from cooking
  • relay information about squadron/base events 
  • check in to see if they need anything (like driveways plowed after a snowstorm)
  • delivered Christmas cookies in December
  • give updates to the First Sergeant
Each squadron is different depending on their key spouses and their leadership, but I've loved working with our squadron.  Delivering meals every other week has been a tangible way to help and it means that I've gotten to be friends with several of them as well!  Overall, the Key Spouse program has been an interesting way for me to meet people, get involved and volunteer. 

3 comments:

  1. So happy to hear that you are active in this way. I, too, was a bit disappointed at your lack of welcome by others. You are making a difference by your deliberate actions. Hopefully, others will also be inspired to help in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am also a Key Spouse and I was wanting to ask for a few tips and advice. We have had the program in place only for 2 years and we are having problem getting spouses to participate in the program with us. Have you encountered this problem? How do you get them involved?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Danielle, I'd love to go into more detail. Would you be okay emailed me at thisgloriousmaze@gmail.com so I can respond directly to you? Thanks!! Hoping we can connect!

    ReplyDelete

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