The Navy has designed and started to implement a new mentor program named COMPASS, expressly made for Military Spouses.? It is a new and still evolving program that is based partly on the U.S. Marine Corps L.I.N.K.S. program, and also based on the Army‘s program AFTB system. It is set up so as to help new Navy spouses to gain a better understanding of how the Navy system is set up and how the Navy does its mission. Taught by volunteers, and based at the local installation level, the program offers a lot of structure and support to help understand what the Navy is all about.
The Naval Services Family Line, a volunteer group serving Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy Families worldwide, directly mentors the program.? The main thrust of the program in addition to support and encouragement is to gently take the spouse through a tour and show the basics of entitlements, pay, services and benefits, and the basic rate/rank structure.? The twelve-hour team mentoring aspect of Compass allows a slow but effective exposure to all things Navy over the course of three days.? Each session lasts four hours on each of three days.
The Compass program is based on a spouse to spouse support, encouragement and mentoring style. It helps encourage the establishment of local peer networks, which is vital for the ongoing support of family and military life. By setting up local peer groups spouse have a warm and encouraging place to share and gain insight into everyday stress and family situations.? It is also a valuable and less intense way to acclimatize a spouse that has little military knowledge into the Navy way of life.
The course materials for COMPASS have slowly become standardized, and include a great deal of updated and valuable information.? Materials covered include interpersonal communications, relations within the Navy and local community, Naval History, the Navy Mission, Naval customs and traditions, Navy personnel rights and Benefits, deployment issues, moving and change of duty stations, the Navy lifestyle, and investing in ones self on a personal basis.
The instructors for COMPASS are simply other spouses, who have been trained and who have a passion for helping and teaching the course material to other Navy Spouses.? There is no cost for COMPASS, and baby-sitting is provided during the sessions for mentors and participants children.? COMPASS groups can be started locally, and take about six to eight months from a cold start to the ability to mentor the first group of COMPASS participants.