Vance hosts first-ever Spouse Symposium

  • Published
  • 71st FTW Public Affairs
Three to one - the rate at which Vance spouses use integrated delivery service agencies compared to active duty Airmen.

Better known as the helping agencies, members of the IDS team have been tracking the amount of people who utilized each agency for three years, said Maggie Laws, the 71st Flying Training Wing community support coordinator. While they don't track names, they do track categories, like active-duty Airman, spouse, government civilian, and so forth.

The trend indicated that spouses needed additional services, and the Spouse Symposium was born.

More than 50 Team Vance spouses attended the Aug. 29 symposium at the Vance Collocated Club.

The morning featured seven resiliency workshops and an ice breaker with the Vance Key Spouses, who helped organize the event.

Workshops included Couples and Money, Raising Healthy Families, Professionally Organizing Your PCS, and a presentation from keynote speaker Judy Davis of the Military Officers Association of America who gave a talk on Kevlar Couples. 

"I thought that her experience as a military spouse, although different because she is Army, is something that we are all living through," said Leann Oatman, the wife of 1st Lt. Chad Oatman who is a first assignment instructor pilot with the 3rd Flying Training Squadron, about how she felt about Judy Davis' presentation. "Since this is a training base, this is (my) first experience with the military way of life and being a spouse."

Oatman valued Davis' advice so much that she is sharing it with her book club, called Wives of Warriors, a club whose spouses are in the military.

"I feel that as a group of women sharing these new experiences with each other, having an outside perspective to help us compare our own experiences to is great," she said. "And let's face it, Judy Davis is funny and puts her experiences out there in order to help those spouses who are experiencing things they have never experienced before."

Oatman's experience mirrored many others who attended the symposium, according to a survey of participants conducted by Laws.

According to the survey, the event was rated five of five by 30 percent of the attendees, another 18 percent rated it a four of five and 100 percent of attendees said the symposium should be an annual event.

If the event were to become annual, there were several other presentations attendees asked to include: a question and answer session with the professional organizer, a presentation on spouse employment and topics about military children.