Connection at the Heart (and Name) of Former Family Sponsor Program
May 7, 2021 - Defence Stories
By Holly Bridges, Planning Advisor, RCAF Family Advocate
Families truly are the strength behind the uniform, and we appreciate the contributions of these invisible crewmembers to overall quality of life
Supporting RCAF families has never been more important than it is now, especially in light of the latest retention survey results that showed the impact of the military lifestyle on spouses and partners as a leading factor in many members’ decision to release early.
In an effort to encourage greater participation, and more accurately portray the support available to our people and their families, the RCAF Family Sponsor Program has been renamed the RCAF Family Connection Program (FCP). This will alleviate the confusion with unit (military) sponsors, who are focused on the military member posted in; whereas the Family Connection Program puts the member’s family front and centre, and better reflects the purpose of the program, which is to build community and improve communication and connection at the wing and unit level. It’s designed to ease the stress of relocation and service-related separation by connecting families to each other and to local leadership.
RCAF units work with local Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) to provide the FCP to any family who desires it when posted into an RCAF unit. Together they engage, build and maintain a team of volunteer connectors at each Wing. The volunteer connectors pro-actively reach out to families that are newly posted in or affected by duty-related separations.
A proactive publicity campaign is underway to re-brand the program and disseminate an updated suite of products to support it. RCAF Command Team engagement will raise awareness and gain support for the ever-important unit communication and connection.
The first-ever RCAF Families website is also under construction with the aim of providing families ─by the summer─ with a one-stop-shop source of information on programs and services relating to priorities including health care, spousal employment, child care, and housing.
Posted RCAF personnel and families are encouraged to participate in the RCAF FCP through their gaining unit or their local MFRC. Every effort will be made to match a newlyposted family with a volunteer connector that shares similar family circumstances (children’s ages, special needs, etc.).
For our RCAF families who are staying put this year – and who would like to welcome another family into their community and share their valuable experience to ease military transitions –please consider volunteering.
Families truly are the strength behind the uniform, and we appreciate the contributions of these invisible crewmembers to overall quality of life, force readiness and the long-term retention of our people. Together, through the RCAF Family Connection Program, we can help build stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger fighting force today, tomorrow and into the future.
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