National Association Working Group – Feb update

The National Working Group (NWG) was established in 2010 to address the matter of a national association of Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC). This issue had been circulating for many years traveling parallel paths both with Executive Directors and Boards of Directors. An attempt to pursue this association was made in 2007 with little success.

The initiative gained momentum once again in early 2010 and a working group consisting of interested Board members and Executive Directors was formed to move it ahead. An independent contractor was engaged to conduct a feasibility study into a national association.

The study was done in two parts; Phase one was the collection of responses from Key Informants (Executive Directors and Board Members) to a list of questions and the second phase looked at potential governance models, names and funding for a national association. The NWG forwarded the findings of both phases to Boards across the country with the intention of addressing the matter at the MFRC conference in Esquimalt in November 2010. Due to a longer than anticipated lead time to finalize and forward the reports, a decision regarding the pursuit of a national organisation was not possible at the conference. However, attendees were asked to go back to their respective Boards to discuss the matter further and to provide the NWG with a formal response by February 2011.

This has been the response data collection:
No opinion/status quo: 4
Option 1 Informal Network: 4
Option 3: Formal Org: 2
Option 4: Team Projects/Hybrid: 5

The National Working Group heard from sixteen (16) MFRCs. The majority of MFRCs that responded would be interested in a combination of Option 1 and Option 4, Project approach and informal networking combination.
The NWG met a number of times via teleconference to discuss the results and the way ahead for this project. The consensus was to move forward with creating a national association with those who had expressed an interest in doing so with the hope that others would join once the basic purpose, mission and goals and benefits of such an organization became better understood. The NWG was further encouraged to continue with this project when it was endorsed by Celine Thompson, DMFS at the Executive Director conference in September and also by Brigadier General Bigelow, Director General Personnel and Family Support Service (DGPFSS) during the Director’s Forum in October.

The group recently met in Ottawa to further their research and to continue to forward the movement with the belief that a national association will enhance the collective strength of MFRCs and provide a structure to share knowledge, policies and resources.

More news to follow as the project moves forward.

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