Skiing and archery and painting oh my!

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Staker
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Ding. A three-inch wide bar appears, notifying users of an unread e-mail.

We invite you to participate in our survey to identify if the Ellsworth AFB population is interested in dance lessons being offered, reads the Ellsworth Force Support Marketing e-mail. 

Regardless of what is offered, the reality is a number of people probably end up hitting the delete button, missing an opportunity to take advantage of the Single Airman Initiative program.

"We want the Airmen to take advantage of the program and let us know how we are doing with the planning," said Mallory Baldwin, 28th Force Support Squadron program and event specialist. "Are we continuing to meet their needs and spark interest? What else do they want to do? We want to make Ellsworth and South Dakota a memorable experience and to do that, we need to know what they are interested in and what they want."

In 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates authorized funding for the Air Force to develop the program, allowing single Airmen, enlisted or officer, to use force support resources and take advantage of opportunities to interact with others free of charge. 

Baldwin said the goal of the program is to provide FSS resources that foster a strong culture, mission and sense of community for single Airmen by incorporating a variety of events throughout the year for them to take part in.

The program also gives Airmen a chance to meet new people while enjoying the base and taking advantage of the recreational opportunities the Black Hills has to offer.

"SAI allows Airmen to take advantage of off-duty time to its fullest," said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Peterson, 28th BW command chief. "If Airmen are recharged, they are better prepared to do the wing's mission, while meeting other Airmen in a social environment and improving work relationships as well."

During the first quarter of the year, the program includes ski and snow tubing events, Canvas and Pottery 2 Paint, a cooking class and Dorm Night Cosmic Bowling.

"In the warmer months, we will also look at putting together a single Airman paintball event, horseback riding, aerial adventure and zip lining day and several other activities that support both the recreational and life-skills component of the program," Baldwin added. "We also purchase equipment for the single Airmen to utilize at their leisure. Currently at Outdoor Recreation, archery equipment, paddle boards, ice fishing equipment and shotguns are available for use, free of charge, by the single Airmen."

To take part in this program, enlisted members or officers without a spouse can look for the "Free to single Airmen" statement or Single Airman Initiative logo and contact the supporting activity, such as the Bandit Lanes Recreation Center or Outdoor Recreation, to sign up.

In order for Airmen to get the most out of the program, Baldwin said, they should provide honest feedback to ensure they offer what servicemembers want to participate in.   

"Help us take full advantage of this program by making it what you want it to be," Baldwin added. "By getting the Airmen out of the dorms and into the community, camaraderie and wingman culture is developed among group participants. What a great way for Airmen of all different demographics get to know one another and develop friendships that could last a lifetime."

For more information, call Mallory Baldwin at (605) 385-4321.