A virtual group for relatives of CAF members

Yves Bélanger, Servir

Almost two years ago, two volunteers from the Military Family Resource Center – Montreal Region (MFRC), Joanne Saccomani and Ann Marcotte, launched a private group on Facebook for relatives of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) newcomers. Their goal was to help them better understand how life works in the CAF.

Ann Marcotte explains that the duo were already collaborating in the presentations of the Military Life 101 workshops offered to parents and relatives of new CAF members by the MFRC. “We figured a discussion group would be very helpful.”

Ann Marcotte

Ann Marcotte.
Photo: Submitted

This is how the Families-relatives of the new soldiers group came into being. Its objective is to allow families and loved ones to discuss various topics such as the graduation ceremony of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, to share photos or carpool offers. “They can talk to each other and support each other. We are also available to answer their questions,” explains Ms. Marcotte.

Two realities

The two women, who saw their son enlist in the Forces, admit having a very different connection with the CAF. A former Royal Canadian Navy reservist, Ann Marcotte had several members of her family who made careers in the military world. “Watching my son become an officer was just normal for me.”

Joanne Saccomani

Joanne Saccomani.
Photo: Submitted

It was experienced differently by Joanne Saccomani, who had never had a direct connection to military life before her son told her he wanted to enlist. “Suddenly, I was facing an unknown world,” she explains.

Ann Marcotte maintains that several parents of new soldiers are in the same situation as her accomplice. “Many parents are anxious that their child has chosen such a profession. By helping them better understand military life, we are able to appease them.”

It was while becoming involved with the MFRC that Joanne Saccomani got to know Ann Marcotte. She explains that the chemistry is excellent between them. “We complement each other well. In fact, we represent the two types of parents we work with well.”

Group Facebook

Currently, the group Families-friends of new military has nearly 350 members. The two women hope to get a lot more. “In fact, we had quite a few projects for this group that had to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, we wanted to organize in-person networking evenings to further promote exchanges between parents and relatives of military personnel,” says Ann Marcotte.

Once the pandemic is over, the two leaders of the Facebook group have every intention of implementing various activities that will promote the creation of links.

To access the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/466154543919591

Family friends of military