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JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC hosts military spouse conference May 10-11

By David DeKunder | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | April 16, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston will be hosting a first-time conference in May focusing on the needs of military spouses that will include workshops and a question and answer panel discussion.

From May 10-11, the Embolden Military Spouse Conference will be held at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center, 3060 Stanley Road, building 2797. The conference is free and open to all JBSA military spouses.

The conference starts with a mixer from 4:30-7 p.m. May 10. On May 11, the conference agenda includes a presentation and kick-off at 8 a.m., followed by workshops from 9-11 a.m., a lunch and panel discussion from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., additional workshops from 12:45-2:45 p.m. and closing session from 2:45-3:45 p.m.

JBSA members can register for the conference at https://e.afit.edu/NQSS8LGV. On the registration site, spouses can select the workshops they want to attend. Seating at the conference is limited, so event organizers say spouses should register as soon as possible. Deadline for registration is May 3.

Registration can also be done in person at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC, Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Conference attendees will be able to pick up their registration at the May 10 mixer.

Ashley Powers, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC community readiness consultant, said the name of the conference, Embolden, is meant to help military spouses develop skills and acquire tools that inspire them to be confident, courageous and strong in tackling the issues and challenges they face every day in military life, while finding a balance in caring for their families, their service member spouse and themselves.

“We wanted to create an event that would help military spouses grow and maintain that work/life balance, personally and professionally,” Powers said. “Our goals are to allow our spouses to feel fulfilled and emboldened with themselves,”

Beth Treon, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC director, said the conference covers topics and issues military spouses seek assistance for at the M&FRC.

There will be 17 workshops at the conference led by subject matter experts covering a wide range of topics including health, parenting, retirement, safety, professional development, transition assistance, marriage, entrepreneurship and TRICARE.

In addition, workshop topics were selected based on the results of a needs assessment survey conducted among 105 military spouses through the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC Facebook page in January.

Treon said the conference is tailored to the needs of both men and women military spouses.

“Oftentimes male spouses are overlooked,” Treon said. “They both have the same experiences in regards of balancing home, children, their children’s education, their education and supporting their servicemember’s career.”

Powers said the conference will emphasize to military spouses the need to take care of themselves as they conduct the tasks to care for their families, which Powers calls the “invisible workload.” She said the invisible workload is the continued labor of planning, coordinating, monitoring and anticipation of issues that most spouses, especially military spouses, encounter that can include searching for good neighborhoods for their children to live in, finding good schools and daycare centers for their children to go to and preparing family meals.

The panel discussion will include four military spouses: Treon, Sara Jane Arnett, a children’s book author; Cyndi Raugh, wife of Col. David Raugh, former 502nd Force Support Group commander; and Latonya Gaither, an educator who was named teacher of the year at the elementary school she teaches at in San Antonio.

Powers said the spouses on the panel are individuals who are well-rounded and have been able to maintain the work/life balance aspect of their lives.

The format of the panel discussion will be driven by questions from spouses attending the conference, who will be able to submit their questions anonymously.

“We are leaving it up to the audience to ask the questions they want in an anonymous fashion so they can receive the feedback they are looking for,” Powers said.

For information and questions about the Embolden Military Spouse Conference, contact JBSA-Fort Sam Houston M&FRC at 210-221-2705.