RCAF Family Sponsor Program - FAQs

1. Who can volunteer?
2. When you say ‘Sponsor’, what is the expectation?
3. What are the requirements to volunteer with the Program?
4. What is the time commitment?
5. Is there training? Who provides it?
6. Doesn’t the MFRC already do this? Is this process not already in place at/done by the local MFRCs?
7. I’m being posted this year and would love a Sponsor! Do I need to do anything?
8. What if I’m not contacted by a Family Sponsor?
9. Doesn’t the military member already get a Sponsor? How is this Program different?
10. How do I know if this Program is available to me?
11. My Spouse/Partner/Etc is away right now. Can I get a Sponsor?
12. Are Sponsors there to help a family through the entire relocation/service-related separation experience?
13. I don’t want anyone to contact me. Can I opt out of the Program?
14. I think this is a fabulous idea, but I can’t be a sponsor right now. Is there any other way I can help?
15. Will I have the same Sponsor for our entire posting?
16. What about confidentiality?
17. Why is this Program important?
18. Who does this Program apply to?
19. What if we are not an RCAF Family?
20. When will this Program start?
21. How many volunteers does each unit need?
22. Can uniformed members volunteer to be Family sponsors?

1. Who can volunteer?

Any adult family member may volunteer to be a Family Sponsor.

2. When you say ‘Sponsor’, what is the expectation?

Our Sponsors sound important because what they do is important - But the job is actually quite simple! Each RCAF family that is posted to a new location needs help getting settled into their new community and each RCAF family experiencing service-related separation deserves meaningful support and that’s where our Sponsors come in. There is no cost to volunteer other than time. In fact, our Sponsors are likely to gain a lot because they meet so many great people.

3. What are the requirements to volunteer with the Program?

The first requirement is a desire to help other RCAF families! Good communications skills and knowledge of the local and military community are also assets. Volunteers will also need to undergo child abuse registry and criminal records checks (at no cost to you).

4. What is the time commitment?

The time commitment varies depending on the number of families that are assigned to a single Sponsor (typically 1-3 families). It also depends on your availability during the day, evening or weekend (it’s very flexible!)

5. Is there training? Who provides it?

Yes! Your local MFRC staff will provide basic volunteer orientation and training to teach you the ins and outs of the Program and how best to assist other families. Then a representative from the unit you are working with will help you connect with your assigned families. There is roughly a half day of initial training and regular check-ins with the Family Sponsor team where more info will be available.

6. Isn’t the MFRC already do this? Is this process not already in place at/done by the local MFRCs?

The RCAF Family Sponsor Program is a new way to connect people with the incredible work that the MFRCs and other family support partners are already doing. Family Sponsors will offer more personal ways of providing local information while bringing together families that all belong to the same unit.

7. I’m being posted this year and would love a Sponsor! Do I need to do anything?

The RCAF Family Sponsor Program will be initiated in early April 2016 for families posted to 2 Air Movements Squadron, Trenton, 408 Squadron Edmonton, 14 Wing Greenwood and 15 Wing Moose Jaw only. The Program will be launched at all other RCAF units in April 2017. If you’re posted to one of the four locations listed above in 2016, you should expect a sponsor to contact you within a few weeks of receiving a posting message. If you are posted to another RCAF unit in 2016, we encourage you to reach out to the local MFRC for support and information.

8. What if I’m not contacted by a Family Sponsor?

If several weeks have passed without a call from a Sponsor, feel free to reach out to your new MFRC and mention to them that you would like a Family Sponsor from your new unit.

9. Doesn’t the military member already get a Sponsor? How is this Program different?

This Program is not a replacement for military sponsor initiatives currently practiced at many Canadian Armed Forces locations. The RCAF Family Sponsor Program is about families helping families, which is neither the intent nor practice of military sponsors.

10. How do I know if this Program is available to me?

Provided that your uniformed spouse/partner/loved one is posted to an RCAF unit (at a wing, base, or other location), the RCAF Family Sponsor Program will apply to you. If you are not posted to an RCAF unit, or the Program is not yet in place at your unit, please contact your nearest MFRC for information regarding other programs in your area that may be of service to you and your family.

11. My Spouse/Partner/Etc is away right now. Can I get a Sponsor?

Once the Program is in place at your unit, Sponsors will be assigned to families when the service member is away for more than 30 calendar days. If you require support or information while your spouse/partner/loved one is away, and the Program is not yet available at your unit, please contact your local MFRC.

12. Are Sponsors there to help a family through the entire relocation/service-related separation experience?

Sponsors have a very simple role. They are a helpful ally to those who are in a new, unfamiliar place. Sponsors can provide info on local services, directions to support resources and connect families with other families in the same unit. However, it’s important to remember that Sponsors are volunteers who are primarily a point of contact. Services such as counselling, taxi driving, babysitting or yard-work are far outside of the scope of the Sponsor role.

13. I don’t want anyone to contact me. Can I opt out of the Program?

While we hope the Sponsor Program will be a unique way to help families connect and learn about available local resources, you can certainly opt out at any time if the Program isn’t right for your family. However, please remember that you can opt back “in” at any time by contacting your local MFRC or Unit Family Sponsor Representative.

14. I think this is a fabulous idea, but I can’t be a sponsor right now. Is there any other way I can help?

Yes! Please help by spreading the word about the Program to others who may be interested in volunteering. You can also be helpful and visible at unit family functions when you’re able.

15. Will I have the same Sponsor for our entire posting?

Not necessarily. Sponsors will generally become less active with a family once the family has been given opportunities to connect with their community. As families get posted out, new sponsors may be assigned through the unit to your family. Each sponsor will have the same training and access to relevant information. And if you think there must be something missing from the training, let us know how we can improve!

16. What about confidentiality?

Confidentiality is a serious issue and we take your privacy seriously. Sponsors are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all sensitive and private information while in a Sponsor capacity and thereafter. To this end, all volunteers are required to sign a Volunteer Service Agreement which specifies Rules of Conduct and an Oath of Confidentiality.

17. Why is this Program important?

The RCAF Family Sponsor Program is important because mobility and separation are two major stressors for military families. In response to RCAF family voices heard from coast-to-coast, this Program will help improve direct communication with families and focus on the types of connections that truly build communities.

18. Who does this Program apply to?

All families posted to any RCAF unit, regardless of their environmental affiliation (Army, Navy or Air Force).

19. What if we are not an RCAF Family?

If you are the loved one of a Canadian Army or Royal Canadian Navy member, but you are posted to an RCAF unit, this Program also applies to you. However, the Program is not currently available at Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy or other non-RCAF units. We encourage you to reach out to your local MFRC who can provide you with a wide range of family support information and resources. You can find local contact info by visiting www.familyforce.ca.

20. When will this Program start?

The Program is set to roll out at the beginning of Active Posting Season (APS) 2016, early April , for those posted to 2 Air Movements Squadron, Trenton, 408 Squadron Edmonton, 14 Wing Greenwood and 15 Wing Moose Jaw. Those posted to any other RCAF unit will have the opportunity to participate in the Program as of APS 17 (April, 2017).

21. How many volunteers does each unit need?

The more the merrier! Exact numbers will vary depending on unit size, operational tempo and annual personnel turnover. The Command Team (Commanding Officer and Chief Warrant Officer) at each unit will determine the volunteer cadre size that best meets their unit’s respective needs.

22. Can uniformed members volunteer to be Family sponsors?

While the intent of the Program is for non-military adult family members to become Sponsors, there is nothing preventing uniformed members from taking on a family sponsorship roll on their own time and after regular duty hours. This would NOT be considered as a Unit Secondary Duty.