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Family Readiness Group leaders are fond of saying, "Soldier readiness plus family readiness equals mission readiness."

With that focus in mind, the 200th Military Police Command conducted a training conference Aug. 5 to 6 for FRG leaders to enhance their abilities to help Soldiers and families.

Participants from 200th Military Police Command units across the country attended.

"You cannot build a building without a solid foundation, so we are here to give you that foundation," said James Cousar, 200th Family Programs coordinator, as he addressed attendees during opening remarks.

Maj. Gen. Sanford E. Holman, commanding general of the 14,000-Soldier military police command, also took part in the conference.

"Whatever units the FRG leaders are associated with will be more effective because of the tools we're putting in the toolbox," Holman said. "Even the veteran FRG leaders learned something."

Holman had a strong message to commanders regarding family readiness.

"This is a commander's tool, and as the senior commander of the 200th, I expect all of the commanders to be involved in FRG because it is a combat multiplier," he said. "It just makes good common sense to take advantage of this resource."

The conference included training on personality types, communication skills, team building and managing conflicts. These are skills FRG leaders will use at their home units to organize volunteers to help Soldiers and families through a wide range of challenges, said Cousar.

He said some examples could be connecting families with academic resources if a child is falling behind in school or connecting families with financial resources if there is a problem in that area.

The personality-types class entitled "Insight" was a favorite of Jhoselyn Ramirez, the Family Readiness support assistant for the 11th MP Brigade based in Los Alamitos, Calif.

"It's going to help me adapt to different situations and personalities," said Ramirez about the class. "I'll know how to approach different people and how to place them in different volunteer positions."

Ramirez has worked in Family Readiness for four years.

"I see it as a career, not as a job," she said. "It's rewarding because every now and then I'll get a card, a call or an email from a family member thanking me. Even though they may be stressed out, they see how hard we're working for them, that we're all in this together."

Paul McDermott, an FRG volunteer for the 306th MP Battalion in Uniondale, N.Y., also said the conference enhanced his leadership skills.

"Every training session is a learning experience," the Army retiree said. "We're learning how to better communicate with our Soldiers, how to better understand their needs, the commander's needs and the families' needs."

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