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Air Force Reserve Key Spouse Virtual Conference

  • Published
  • By Jessica Dupree, Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command

The Air Force Reserve Key Spouse Program hosted the first-ever Air Force Reserve Virtual Key Spouse Conference Nov. 10, 2021, with the theme “Building Resilient Teams.”

“The Key Spouse Program is all volunteer based,” said Janis Scobee, Air Force Reserve Command senior key spouse. “This conference is all about making sure they have the resources they need to serve their Airmen and families, and also themselves.”

Each of the speakers at the conference spoke to a different level of resiliency: personal resiliency, command team resiliency, network team resiliency and home unit resiliency.

The keynote speaker, Dede Halfhill, the senior executive coach at pLink Leadership and U.S. Air Force veteran, spoke about maintaining personal resiliency in order to serve those around you. The personal struggles she shared resonated with the audience.

“I personally connected with her story, because we’ve shared similar struggles,” Scobee said. “She taught us that your Airmen and families will feel comfortable being vulnerable if you are open and vulnerable with them.”

Other speakers at the conference were Chaplain Nealy Brown, author of the book “How Not to Kill Your Spouse, Kids, and Coworkers,” a key spouse panel that included K.C. Erredge from the 960th Cyber Wing, Stephanie Smith from the 445th Airlift Wing and Jesse Lorton from the 73rd Airlift Squadron, and Scobee and Edith White, key spouse with AFRC headquarters, who gave the closing remarks.

Maj. Regan De La Cruz, a strategic planner at AFRC headquarters and an event planner for the conference, said the conference was a success because it connected key spouses from the squadron level to the numbered Air Force level up the headquarters level, and it showed just how much of an impact key spouses can have on the Air Force Reserve mission.

“It provided that opportunity for everyone to be involved at once, so they know they’re all players and partners no matter what level they’re at,” he said.

Scobee, who originally came up with the idea for a conference, said the unique position of Air Force Reserve key spouses compared to their active component counterparts made a networking and learning event like this important. Unlike active-duty Airmen who usually live within commuting distance of their units, Reserve Citizen Airmen can live across the country.

“Our families don’t usually live on a military base, and sometimes they don’t even live near other military families,” Scobee said. “Key spouses are keeping them connected to their military families.”

De La Cruz echoed the same sentiment, and said he hopes the AFRC Key Spouse program will one day get to interact more with key spouse programs in the active component and Air National Guard.

“We ultimately want to ensure care is equitable across all components,” De La Cruz said. “When key spouses can support each other no matter what component they’re in, the entire enterprise becomes stronger.”

White said she believes the conference was an important step in growing the key spouse program.

“As we continue, it’s going to keep growing stronger because of all the lives we are impacting. It’s done so much for me, and I know it can help others too.”