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The Military Spouses’ Club of Albany is a nonprofit organization functioning largely within Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Its mission is to provide enrichment and support to military, military families and the Albany area community. One of the most visible signs of this has been the monthly Dinner at the Barracks events feeding dozens of young Marines residing in MCLB Albany’s barracks facility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Jennifer Parks)

Photo by Jennifer Parks

Military Spouses’ Club of Albany expanding outreach in period of revival at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

6 Mar 2023 | Jennifer Parks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

The Military Spouses’ Club of Albany, previously known as the Officers’ Spouses’ Club, is a nonprofit organization functioning largely within Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Its mission is to provide enrichment and support to military, military families and the Albany area community. 

The club conducts brunches, luncheons, painting parties, workshops, networking and other chances for personal growth, friendship and camaraderie as a part of this mission.

MSCA exists to offer support to active-duty spouses, retired spouses and civilian Marine spouses associated with MCLB Albany. It seeks to build lasting friendships and foster personal growth through social activities, and by providing support to the community through volunteerism and fundraising.

“The club is meant to build friendships and a sense of being accepted and welcomed, and provides an opportunity to give back,” Sheila Keim, the club’s president, said.

The club took a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recently resuming activities last fall. The club’s president is eager to build friendships and grow a tight knit community for the Albany area’s military population.

“When I get to a new duty station, I join the spouse’s club,” Keim said. “We moved here in August 2020 during the pandemic. I felt a sense of camaraderie.

“Together the club can bring back what was lost. I am finding my people in this club. We can talk about life in Albany.”

The club’s board worked on getting the group ready to have a successful rebooting. There are “sub clubs” doing book, craft, movie and dinner nights, but the club’s members were also ready to give back to the community.

One of the most visible signs of this has been the monthly Dinner at the Barracks events feeding dozens of young Marines residing in MCLB Albany’s barracks facility. The feedback has been positive enough to be getting suggestions from the Marines on what they would like to have at future dinner nights.

“The chow hall closed and there was no place for the young Marines to eat,” Keim, an 18-year military spouse, said. “The spouse’s club started making dinner for the Marines in the barracks. We do a variety of themes.”

“The Marines love it and the club members love making food for the Marines. They are touched someone has taken the time to do this. They are feeling seen and feeling important.”

The barrack residents get free food while the club members get something else.

“It does build community and friendships,” Keim said. “There are so many aspects to what volunteering does. We are glad to do it for the Marines here.”

This event’s resumption was made a reality via engagement with the base’s Single Marine Program.

“This connection has been extremely beneficial to the SMP,” said Matthew Hardwick, coordinator, SMP, MCLB Albany. “Considering many of the Marines are far away from the communities in which they were raised, the home cooked meals prepared by the spouse’s club are always a welcoming treat. The selflessness of the spouses to step away from their individual families to serve the junior Marines displays a genuine sense of care.”

“The club serves as a vital resource by strengthening the family-oriented atmosphere of the MCLB Albany community. Essentially, the spouse’s club’s presence demonstrates to the young Marines, ‘although you are away from home, you still have family here,’” Hardwick added.

Hardwick is also the director of the Semper Fit program affiliated with the installation’s Marine Corps Community Services division. This is a line of work already exposing him to the needs of young service members and military families.

He wants to see those needs addressed through SMP, and for the club to have a role in this.

“I hope to build upon this connection through continued collaboration,” Hardwick said. “This is inclusive of brainstorming and planning sessions focused on efforts to engage the younger Marines. These Marines are the future of the Corps, so it is our responsibility to serve them now with the expectation of cultivating a sense of community that compels them to pay it forward in the future.

“I am extremely grateful for the spouse’s club support of this mission.”

MCCS Albany has been a valuable partner for the spouse’s club, particularly in terms of making the connections and communication channels needed for it to survive.

“We are about support, assisting families and empowering them to thrive,” Jennifer Anderson, readiness program manager, Marine and Family Programs, MCCS Albany, said. “The spouse’s club is one of many avenues. They perform a vital function to build community and establish community while they are here.”

The administrative section of MCCS acts as a go-between for the club.

“We act as a liaison between the club and the commander,” MCCS Albany Director Craig Pruett said.

The function of MCCS as it relates to the spouse’s club is to share information to its target audience so the military community knows of the club’s existence and its involvement.

“We help them share information. In turn they help us share information on team-building events we offer,” Anderson said. “We recently had a class just for the club based on a request for programming on professional development benefits.”

“As much as we assist them, they assist us.”

 Pruett said it is normal for the club to jump in when needed.

“They are always willing to promote an event we have going on,” he said. “They were the point of contact for Operation Homefront, which allowed for the distribution of holiday toys and school supplies.”

“The spouse’s club allows for the foundation to build a relationship with military families here.”  

The MSCA fundraises each year to benefit its scholarship and community grants fund. 
The club has given more than $152,000 in scholarships to students, and grants to organizations, in and around the Albany area in the last nine years. Scholarships are awarded to selected military dependents, both traditional and nontraditional students, based on academic excellence and involvement in their schools and community. 

The club awards its community enrichment grants based on level of community impact and good stewardship of requested funding. It anticipates seeking opportunities for members to volunteer in the community outside the fence line.

“We are hoping to do more,” Keim said. “We are looking to give back to the local community supporting us while we are here.”

“We know we will find people and make our transition to Albany easier through the club.”

Keim sees the chance to work outside the base’s gates as mutually beneficial.

“We live in this community, and we are a part of it,” she said. “We need to give back and let them know we are here to support them. They can help us as well. We can all help each other.”

Membership dues provide the funding for the club website, select events throughout the year and preliminary funding for its annual auction. Monthly socials, holiday gatherings and activities in and outside the fence line are also among the items included in the club’s budget.

The club is very inclusive, offering opportunities to join that may not exist on bases where there is a higher military presence. The membership eligibility is:

  • Spouse of active-duty and reserve service personnel (of all branches of the armed forces) residing in the Albany area

  • Widow or widower (of military personnel) residing in the Albany area

  •  Spouse (residing in the Albany area) of active-duty personnel who is serving in an overseas location

  • Active duty, retired or reserve service military member residing in the Albany area

  • Spouse of MCLB Albany civilian employee who is General Schedule-5 and above

  • MCLB Albany civilian employee, GS-5 and above, including those who are retiredSpouses of deceased civilian personnel if their marital status remains unchanged

  • Spouse of Department of Defense contractor employee, technical representative or other authorized logistical support by a DOD component working at MCLB Albany

  • DOD contractor employee, technical representative or other authorized logistical support by a DOD component who works at MCLB Albany

“This club is the most inclusive I’ve seen,” Anderson said. “I am surprised as a former active-duty spouse.”

Given the amount of time since the club’s revival, its members have come a long way.

“They are always growing and always a work in progress,” Anderson said. “There is always room for growth, and they have done fantastic things in a short amount of time.”

Like Keim, Anderson sees the club’s growth and outreach as a two-way street in terms of community benefit.

“It benefits the civilian employees in a way they may not realize,” she said. “Outside organizations may be more likely to sponsor and may be more inclined to support. We are grateful for the outreach they do.”

There is more exposure for the club if nothing else.

“If they do events off the installation, it increases the opportunity for those living off base to participate,” Pruett said. “The base is a part of the community. We all live in the greater Albany community.”

“The framework is in place for the club, and there is every opportunity for it to continue to grow.”

The intention is for this momentum to continue. There is much at stake in the years ahead.

“We look forward to continuing this upward trajectory,” Anderson said. “The more we work together, the more we can build, the more we can offer all of our military families on this installation.”

“We are excited to see membership build and see spouses excited to be members.”  

The club is a private organization. It is not affiliated with the DOD and has no government status. Visit for more information.

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