Past President, Allison Higgins, offers her own insight to how Spouses' Clubs provide a unique support system to military spouses.
January's luncheon with the Fort Rucker Community Spouses' Club in Fort Rucker, Alabama, reminded me of the value of the Army spouse sisterhood and the meaningful role we play in one another’s lives when we genuinely and physically connect. Today, we mistake chatting through hurried posts on social media as socializing. Certainly, social media eases networking and social introductions, but that’s just it – it’s only introductory. To find a trusted network of friends, and create meaningful relationships, we have to physically connect with one another.
Decades ago, military spouses quickly realized this when moving from the safety of their hometowns to unfamiliar communities across the country and overseas. A natural way to bring spouses together for some fun, camaraderie, and to commiserate (let’s keep it real), was to establish Spouses’ Clubs and Coffee Groups. Clubs, and groups like it, were formed to alleviate the stressors of military life like transition, separation, and loneliness. It’s during these gatherings we make deeper connections, find mentors, create memories, serve our community, and gain lifelong friends. From there, we come together in more intimate settings, gathering new friends around the dinner table for some good food and drinks on a Saturday night. This is how the military family takes shape to resemble our real families back home. And like a family, we laugh, cry, and mourn together. We celebrate weddings, births, graduations, promotions, and retirement. We support each other through illness and loss. We raise our families together.
Keeping it real. Sometimes we doubt this network. We grow tired of it. We need an escape and choose to take a break from it. We’ve all felt like that once or twice. Do I hear three or more times? No worries. Because when we find ourselves in need of the unique support only our military family can provide, it will be there. They will be there. I know this because I’m rediscovering how much I value my Army family through the amazing women in the Fort Rucker Community Spouses’ Club. And to those smart, compassionate, and resilient women, I say, "thank you."
Allison Higgins, 2015-2016 FRCSC President, is an accomplished nonprofit professional with two decades of experience working in nonprofit sectors, across the country, directing nonprofit marketing initiatives, spearheading development of volunteer and membership programs, advocating for the nonprofit sector and military families, planning events and conferences, and coordinating technological integration for nonprofits. You can find this article and more by connecting with her on LinkedIn. This article was also published in the Army Aviation Association of America magazine.