This year we are excited to be celebrating our 30th anniversary. While Calgarians were kicking back to watch new episodes of Home Improvement and listening to MC Hammer’s newest song, the Calgary MFRC was opening its doors.
Where has the time gone?
Our 30th Anniversary
Thirty years ago, the MFRC was known as the Family Support Centre and was primarily focused on providing resources and a sense of community to spouses of regular force military members and their children. Looking back at where we started, it’s amazing to see how much the MFRC hasl changed since April 1991. We’ve seen shifts in our population, changing definitions of community and family, increase in CAF deployments, and even location changes.
The biggest and most dramatic of these changes was the closure of CFB Calgary in 1998. Due to the relocation of 90 per cent of Calgary’s CAF personnel and their families, the future of the Calgary MFRC was uncertain. Fortunately, Military Family Services (MFS), recognized that although we had a drastic decrease in our population, the remaining families would still be in need of support. So, the MFRC went from 35 employees to only three full-time and one part-time. We also moved into a smaller space where the office is currently located.
Thankfully those reduced staff levels were short lived though. When Canada began sending ground troops into Afghanistan in 2001, the Calgary MFRC grew to support reservist families. As we hired more staff, we also broadened our definition of family to include not only spouses and children but also parents, siblings, aunts and uncles - anyone the CAF member deemed to be family.
This inclusion of reservists and additional family members also lead to us finding a broader community across central and southern Alberta and it was at this time we began working with Red Deer and Lethbridge’s military family communities. These relationships and our military communities continued to grow, which lead to us establishing physical offices in both these locations and employing local staff members in 2017.
Throughout the years, our programs and services have also transformed. In 2004, MFS presented the Parameters for Practice, a set of guidelines and pillars to ensure the consistency of program delivery and standards nationally across all MFRCs. These areas include child and youth development, parent support, personal development, community integration, family separation and reunion as well as prevention, support and intervention. We also started to focus on broader wellbeing concepts and in particular mental health programming as Occupational Stress Injuries became a more prevalent issue throughout our areas.
We are very proud of how far we have come and look forward to sharing stories with you throughout the next 12 months about our history and how both you and we have changed. Keep an eye on our blog, our social media, our website and our newsletter this year as we share more about how amazing the last 30 years have been.