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Free Webinar For Navy Chief-Selectee Spouses

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WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy Installations Command (NIC), along with Naval Services FamilyLine (NSFL), will offer a free, one-hour webinar for spouses of Navy chief petty officer (CPO) selectees Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. EST, and Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. EST.

Those interested in participating may sign up by emailing livewellresilientweb@navy.mil and indicating in the subject line which of the two dates they will attend.

The Live Well Resiliency webinar will provide an overview of what spouses can expect during the process from chief petty officer selection to pinning.

This annual process, known as Phase II of the yearlong CPO 365 program, is also a source of renewal for the Chiefs Mess. It is a six-week program where the Navy takes petty officers first class, and through developing, training, guiding and testing brings them into the Chiefs Mess.

Beth Mulloy, chairperson of Naval Services FamilyLine, pointed out the transition from petty officer first class to CPO is quite possibly the most significant accomplishment in an enlisted Sailor's career. It is also an important change for the Sailor's spouse, she added.

"With this advancement comes the possibility for more responsibility and higher expectations of the spouse," Mulloy said. "This may include support of the command's policy, involvement in the community, and the opportunity to provide guidance and support to fellow spouses."

NIC and NSFL have published a handbook, "Guidelines for the Spouses of Chief Petty Officers," as part of a series of handbooks for sea service families.

Mulloy said the demand for this particular publication has grown over the years. The organization received requests for 37,000 copies of the handbook last year, and has already distributed 35,000 this year.

"It is our number one of all the guidelines we produce," she said.

Realizing the importance of social media in educating family members, the organization has taken great strides in that direction. Recently, NSFL volunteer Emily Chuma and part-time receptionist Jillian Pearson worked on a 17-minute PowerPoint presentation highlighting the CPO process for spouses. With the support of NIC, that slideshow was incorporated into the live webinar to be offered.

Pearson, a CPO spouse, believes it's important to educate new spouses on what to expect in the process and going forward. She recalled how demanding those six weeks were from the moment her husband learned he was a selectee seven years ago.

"He would come home at midnight, then be out the door the next day at the crack of dawn," she said. "It was a crazy and busy time not only for him, but our family."

Pearson said realizing the heightened sense of responsibility and trust which will be placed on the selectees, and having an understanding of the origin of the position is important for spouses.

This upcoming webinar will allow time for questions from participants. The webinar, guidelines and a weeklong Command Master Chief Spouse Leadership Course are all resources provided through NSFL to assist spouses and their families as their service member transitions into this honorable leadership role.

Naval Services FamilyLine is a volunteer, nonprofit organization founded in 1965 by Navy spouses who recognized the value of an engaged and informed Navy family. Their aim was and is now to provide resources and mentoring to increase every spouse's understanding of the Navy's mission. Today, utilizing a variety of resources, the organization provides information and spouse mentorship on topics as widely varied as emergency preparedness to naval customs and traditions.

With the support of Navy leadership worldwide, along with financial backing from spouse clubs, Navy family advocates, corporations and dedicated individuals, NSFL has continued to grow and flourish.

Tamara Calandra is the ombudsman for Navy Installations Command and may be reached at cnicombudsman@gmail.com

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