It's been a long year and a half of struggling to meet people, especially for military spouses who have moved. As spouses' clubs and family readiness groups begin to plan for in-person events, there is still a void for those stationed remotely or who are unable to attend.
Virtual events are not a new thing for the military community, and often work better for busy schedules, but after more than a year of communicating remotely, many military spouses are experiencing Zoom fatigue.
Here are some of the things -- both in-person and online -- you can look forward to over the next few months.
AFI MSOY Week
This year, Armed Forces Insurance is hosting its Military Spouse of the Year Week from Sept. 7-10 in the Arlington, Virginia, area. This event is usually in May, ending on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was canceled last year and rescheduled for September.
Participants will attend a two-day town hall, which in the past has included presentations on military protocol, best practices regarding personal and operational security and resiliency, and military marriage advice. Other events on the agenda include two evening receptions and, on Friday, an early morning walk at the National Mall in support of the Million Mile Project, which brings awareness to suicide prevention efforts among military families. The event is open to MSOY alumni, and the awards luncheon on Thursday is invitation only.
AUSA Family Forum
Back in person this year is the Family Forum section of the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA) annual meeting. Held in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 11-13, there are several sessions planned specifically for families. They include "Quality of Life at Your Fingertips;" a forum on improvements in soldier and family readiness with keynote speaker Patty Barron, the deputy defense secretary for military community and family policy and former AUSA family readiness director; the Army Senior Leaders' Town Hall; and "Modern Protocol and Evolving Traditions, The Value of Protocol and Traditions in the 21st Century."
Tickets for the event are free, and the forums scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday will be streamed by the Army on DVIDS, AUSA told Military.com in an email. There currently are no plans to stream anything live on Facebook. Register here.
You're Worth It
New this year is the Inspire Up Foundation's "You're Worth It" conference, taking place Nov. 4-6, 2021. The foundation's goal is to inspire a kinder and more giving world by bringing the military and civilian communities together. Open to military, veteran and first-responder spouses, this event takes place in Lenexa, Kansas -- which was chosen because of its relative close proximity to almost a dozen installations, foundation chief financial officer Jessica Manfre said.
Tickets are on sale through Sept. 15 for $49.99, and a discounted rate for hotel rooms is available on the website. Scholarships are also available. Tickets include a choice of four of the available workshops, an evening reception, several meals and a workout on Saturday led by a former Miami Heat choreographer.
Pillar Deployment Retreat
Back for the second year, the Pillar Deployment Retreat will be held virtually Nov. 12-14. The military spouse partnership of Jo, My Gosh! and Becky Hoy from the monthly subscription box company Brave Crate host this digital retreat and bring information on all things related to deployment.
With 25 experienced military spouses and lifestyle experts, including three keynote speakers, there is something for everyone. These five- to 15-minute sessions can be viewed live throughout the weekend or at a later time, depending on the participant's time zone and scheduling needs. Tickets are free and available online at this point.
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