FORT SNELLING, Minn. – The 9th Marine Corps District, also known as Midwest Marines, held its annual Family Readiness Conference at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, June 20-23, at the Naval Reserve Training Center.
The intent of the conference was to bring spouses together, gain a better understanding of their Marine’s role in recruiting and to provide a setting to get away from their daily routine.
The primary mission of 9MCD, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, is to support recruiting efforts in the Midwest, but to also keep families engaged and connected through the Family Readiness Program.
The program serves as the primary communication link between the command and families of 9MCD. The district family readiness officer, Elizabeth Carty, works in conjunction with deputy FROs at each of the district’s eight recruiting stations to provide information and support to Marines and families across the Midwest to enhance personal readiness and quality of life.
“The 9th Marine Corps District Family Readiness Conference is designed to provide a venue for spouses and adult family members of our Marines and sailors to enhance resilience and develop skills for success as they progress with their spouse through their military career,” said Carty.
The conference aligns with Gen. Robert B. Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, in his “A Message from the Commandant,” which states “Marines expect care and support for families and our wounded,” from our leaders.
The conference included classes for spouses, such as Recruiting 101, yoga, self-defense and goal setting.
“I think more spouses should attend,” said Skylar Hartman, a conference attendee and spouse of a career recruiter. “There’s a lot of things you learn about, like Marine and Family Program services and how to better communicate with your spouse which is extremely beneficial in the recruiting world.”
Carty said each year she works to actively measure the benefit to attendees and each year finds that everyone takes away something unique and important from their experience.
One spouse had attended another district’s conference last year and found them stylistically different.
“This conference was engaging and interactive which was amazing,” said Heather Dougherty, a conference participant. “I would highly recommend spouses to attend this conference at the beginning of recruiting duty.”
Dougherty and Hartman both agreed that spouses typically feel uneasy about recruiting duty, but if they attend the family readiness conference or talk to the FRO, they have more of an understanding, which can lessen the burden and stress on a couple.
“I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference,” exclaimed Dougherty.