Advocating for Defence Partners & Families was never part of the plan but here we are….
By Beck Rayner
Advocating for Defence Partners and Families wasn’t really part of the plan when I started MWL.
Yes, I wanted to create a space where I could tell the stories of defence partners and give partners a voice.
Yes, I wanted to create a space where all defence partners felt acknowledged, valued and supported.
Did I know that while I set about creating that space and community that I would start to see ALL of the cracks?
SO. MANY. CRACKS!
The answer is NO. I myself had experienced some of the cracks in the past but I didn’t know how they were all connected. Sometimes I wish I didn’t know about all of the cracks but 3 years down the MWL road and here we are.
On Friday I walked into the Defence Member and Family Support head office (don’t worry I had an appointment… I might go rogue sometimes but not that rogue) and I told them everything you have been telling me for the last few years;
-New defence partners feel lost
-Defence Kids need resources and proven programs
-COVID has impacted MWDU families hugely and they are breaking
-Inconsistent support from DMFS offices around the country
There was a lonnnnng list of talking points but I think the key takeaway is that there was talking happening.
It might only be a small step but it is a step forward not back and that to me is huge.
For DMFS to be listening to a defence partner (and others who are also advocating for you) and that defence partner to be telling them first hand about some of the gaps and cracks and challenges and needs of defence families is a great thing. It is different and new and goes a long way. It has restored a little hope that maybe we can all work together.
In the end, we all want the same thing which is to see Defence partners and Families thrive. We might have different ideas on how to get there but opening up communication is at least a start.
Yes it is was one meeting but there are plans for more with myself and other Defence Partners who are also advocating for the defence community. Let’s just say we (DMFS and I) are going to “circle back” next month but not in the true “circle back” sense…. well at least I won’t be coming to the next meeting to throw around fancy words I will be coming to the next meeting to continue telling it how it is. Being real and raw in true Beck MWL style.
I might be one person but I took the opportunity in that meeting to share the thoughts, feelings and voices of many. Since the beginning of MWL I have taken each and every message and email and comment I have received on board and stored them away knowing that I would one day draw from them to help those who have taken the time to share with me. I used my voice and amplified it with yours. I have and always will be guided by this community.
Back to the cracks…. some of them seem like easy fixes and some of them are a kind of ‘knockdown rebuild’ situation but I promise you I (and a number of other Defence Partners) am doing everything I can to tell those who NEED and SHOULD be listening about the cracks.
It might just be new build time…. YAY fun Pinterest board anyone?! It might get a little messy for a while and right now it feels like there is just SO MUCH work to do but I can see the end result and gosh it would be amazing if by some miracle it all came together.
I know a lot of you are sick of talking.
I know a lot of you need solutions now.
I know a lot of you have lost trust.
I know a lot of you JUST NEED TO SEE action.
I feel like it is coming.
I feel like we are closer to positive change than we have been in a long while.
So have I kinda sorta accidentally become an advocate for Defence Partners and Families…. I think so but I’m ok with that.
Let’s do this together beautiful people xx
P.S- Thanks goes to the many individuals and Defence Partners who are also out there advocating and asking questions and those who have supported, mentored, connected, guided and helped me and continue to help me along the way. We are only just beginning and I would not have been able to do it without you.