The RCAF Family Sponsor Program: Guiding Families to a Smooth Landing at a New Destination

Magazine Article / March 1, 2020

For many RCAF families, looking at the end of another long Canadian winter also means the possibility of move to a new location. Posting season can be both a time of excitement and of some worry, as families look ahead to the inevitable changes that a move will bring. While postings are a common occurrence in a CAF career, the RCAF Family Sponsor Program is a unique opportunity for families to connect to the people and services at their new location. Alternatively, for those who are staying put, it’s an easy way to give back to the community and share valuable experiences with a new family.

The RCAF Family Sponsor Program was developed to address concerns expressed by families, such as the desire for improved communications with local leadership and a stronger sense of community. This unit-based program connects a Family Sponsor (volunteer family members) with an incoming family or a family experiencing a service-related separation. The program is run in partnership with the local MFRC and builds on the ways military families are already supporting each other in the community at large. It is structured to ensure that all RCAF families have the opportunity to connect with peers and local leadership.

Following trials at a few locations in previous years, 2019 was the first year the program was available across the RCAF, and 169 families were matched with a Family Sponsor. The benefit of accepting a Family Sponsor is a personal welcome to the community as well a connection to a peer who can provide personalized connections to and information about the new location. Of course, every RCAF unit is unique and program structure may vary a little from place to place, especially as the program grows; however, the common thread is leadership-driven, peer-to-peer support tailored specifically to RCAF families.

Volunteers are the heart of this program and more are always needed. Family Sponsors receive training from the MFRC to ensure they are well informed about local resources and have access to the most up-to-date community information. But most importantly, volunteers simply need to be themselves to help make the posting process a little friendlier and a little less stressful for another family. Volunteering as a Family Sponsor is not a big time commitment and it can easily fit it into your schedule, yet it has a big positive impact on other families.

You can find more information about the RCAF Family Sponsor Program by visiting http://www.arc.forces.gc.ca/en/family-support-team/family-sponsor-program.page  or viewing the FAQs. To request a Family Sponsor for your upcoming move, or to volunteer to share your knowledge and skills as a Family Sponsor, contact your unit or the local Military Family Resource Centre.

RCAF leaders can find everything they need to manage the Family Sponsor Program at the unit level by visiting https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/MFS/Pages/RCAF-.aspx.

RCAF families share experiences and challenges that are unique to service in Canada’s Air Force. Together, through the Family Sponsor Program, we can help build stronger communities where all families feel at home.

Date modified: