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News > IDS agencies team up to educate Airmen 'out of training'
 
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Airmen learn life skills through chapel and IDS agencies
Mike Brown, Airman & Family Readiness Center instructor, talks with recent technical training graduates about money saving topics at the Solid Rock Cafe on Sept. 19, 2012, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. The training was conducted as part of a test program on how to maximize students time who are "out of training" for various reasons. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dan Hawkins)
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IDS agencies team up to educate Airmen 'out of training'

Posted 9/19/2012   Updated 9/19/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Dan Hawkins
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs


9/19/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Approximately 150 Airmen not in training this week at Sheppard got the opportunity to learn more about personal finance, team building, stress management and relationships in a new pilot program aimed at providing them with tools to enhance their overall life-skills knowledge base.

Through collaboration between the Sheppard chapel staff, base training groups and the base Integrated Delivery Systems (IDS) agencies, Airmen attend daily workshops at the Solid Rock CafĂ© hosted by the Airmen and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) and family advocacy helping hand agencies.

According to Capt. Noel Blancaflor, part of the 82nd Training Wing chaplain staff and organizer of the week-long event, the aim of the program is to help reinforce and also add depth to knowledge already touched on during earlier phases of the military training process.

"We wanted to find a creative way to help train and inspire Airmen, which is our mission," Blancafor said. "It's important to maximize student's time while they are here and since they are not currently in training, we have a window of opportunity to provide interactive training in a less formal setting in which the Airmen can really connect to the information being provided."

The program, which runs from Sept. 17-21, involves educating a fresh batch of 30 to 40 students who are out of training each day on different subjects. Most of the topics cover life skills the Airmen can use right away as they begin their Air Force careers.

"Most of the information we are providing this week is somewhat familiar to the Airmen," said Mike Brown, A&FRC instructor. "By getting the Airmen in smaller groups and really going in-depth into financial management or relationships where they can ask questions, we potentially are quelling situations that might arise at their next assignment simply because of a lack of information."

The more intimate feel of the training was a definite plus.

"I like the smaller group size and the chance to really ask the instructor a lot of questions," said Airman 1st Class Casey Mitchell, who just graduated from the 362nd Training Squadron Remotely Piloted Aircraft crew chief course. "Learning about the Thrift Savings Plan and how the whole savings process works has been eye-opening for me."

Airman Stephen Porter, a recent graduate from the 362nd TRS and headed to Osan Air Base, South Korea to be a U-2 crew chief, loved the opportunity to learn new life skills.

"Getting the chance to spend time here learning how to save for my future is awesome," Porter said. "A lot of people don't understand how to even get started with money management, so being here instead of out doing details is a great way to spend my day."

After the test program is over at the end of the week, the focus will shift to evaluation on the way ahead for the program.

"We'll see what the takeaways are and go from there," Blancaflor said. "Within the IDS and all the agencies on base, our goal is to ensure all of our Airmen are prepared both for the mission and for day-to-day life. It's really why we are here."

For more information on the IDS and helping hand agencies, click here.



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