ASYMCA Military Spouse Symposium Recap

Written by Jeanine Rickman

Life in the military can be challenging for spouses’ careers, with frequent relocations and military demands often interrupting professional paths. As a dedicated supporter of junior enlisted military families, the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) provides help for military spouses in advancing their educational and career-oriented goals.

Having personally experienced these challenges as a military spouse, I had the opportunity to attend the Military Spouse Symposium, an ASYMCA initiative designed to assist spouses like me in overcoming these obstacles, nurturing our well-being, and fostering meaningful connections with fellow military spouses. Here’s a glimpse into my experience at the symposium.


What Makes the Military Spouse Symposium Special?

The Military Spouse Symposium in San Diego stands out from typical military career events. Here, the ASYMCA goes the extra mile to ensure military spouses can get the most out of this experience. They even provide childcare, making it accessible for spouses with young children.

The morning began with a light breakfast followed by a motivational speech to energize everyone for the day and recognize the valuable contributions that spouses bring to the table. They offered a variety of classes for each of their three sessions. Attendees enjoyed a tasty buffet-style luncheon with many options while watching a runway show featuring simple professional attire. To cap it all off, there’s a resource fair and a free thrift store where military spouses can find donated professional clothing and jewelry.

This military spouse conference is a comprehensive experience aimed at enhancing the overall well-being of military spouses. The classes are led by knowledgeable volunteers from the local community, many of whom offer ongoing support and guidance. Here is a list of the great classes attendees can choose from:

Health and Wellbeing

  • Healthy cooking
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Fitness & Well-Being

Career & Financial Wellbeing

  • Operation Budget
  • Re-Enter the Workforce
  • Financial Literacy
  • Career Tips
  • Resume
  • Career Guidance

Engaging Fun

  • Flight Line Tour (Top Gun)
  • Golf Lessons
  • Mocktails & Monet Painting Class.
  • Holiday Food Gifts

Sharing My Military Spouse Symposium Experience

Early registrants have the privilege of selecting classes for each of the three sessions. In my case, having previously attended more career-focused seminars, I was eager to participate in sessions that aligned with my personal well-being goals.

Exploring Wellness Through Yoga

I began my day with the Yoga class, wanting to meet one of my personal goals of bettering my practice. Their support for military spouses was evident as they provided mats and blankets for those without, along with small towels and bottled water. They also gave us small towels and bottled water. It was unusually hot for San Diego, so I was very thankful for that towel and the portable shade. I was also glad I thought to bring a change of clothes. What a workout! It was challenging, but alternative poses were always offered. I learned a few great tips.

How Small Changes Lead to Big Results

Next, I chose a wellness class, specifically focusing on fitness and well-being — a huge help for military spouses like me who seek to prioritize health amid the demands of military life. Although it had a fitness orientation, the main goal was adjusting the mindset to improve overall quality of life. I genuinely appreciated how the instructor emphasized making small changes. Military life can get quite chaotic with our schedules constantly shifting. It’s much easier to focus on manageable goals and shift our thoughts from thinking that we need to conquer BIG goals to be successful. Being reminded to celebrate the small accomplishments and take pride in even a 1% improvement is empowering. It’s a concept I plan to integrate into every part of my life.

Building a Military Spouse Resume

My last class was on career tips, led by an instructor from Hiring Our Heroes, a partner of the Department of Defense that supports active-duty spouses in pursuing careers. This class focused on translating military spouse life into an impressive resume. The instructor emphasized to all the spouses present how much they accomplish at home and how these valuable skills can be applied in the workplace. I left this class with increased confidence about reentering the workforce after a decade-long “unpaid” work gap.

Benefits of the ASYMCA Military Spouse Symposium

This year’s ASYMCA Military Spouse Symposium positively impacted the lives of 97 spouses of active-duty service members, becoming a military spouse support group for us. It provided a space for us to connect and engage in meaningful conversations. We learned strategies to enhance our personal growth and plan for our future careers. Plus, we had fun participating in enjoyable activities with like-minded spouses in an encouraging setting. This program left me and many other spouses feeling more confident and empowered moving forward. It was a memorable event.

Ensuring Bright Futures

Events like the ASYMCA Military Spouse Symposium not only assist military spouses in pursuing career and educational goals but also contribute to lifelong success for active-duty families. With the support of generous donations, ASYMCA hopes to expand this program to provide enhanced support for military spouses. If you’d like to contribute and make a difference, consider donating today to help us empower even more military families. Your support can make a meaningful impact.