Straight Talk: Getting to know your neighbors|
Posted 10/21/2010 Updated 10/21/2010
Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander
10/21/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Question: How can we give families on base the opportunity to get to know each other better? I live on Hanscom, but do not work here and, like many residents in the same position, I miss out on some of the base activities and the chance to connect with other families. After all, that's one of the major draws to living on base, as many of us don't have immediate family in the area. Other than some of the occasional seasonal events such as Summer Bash and Oktoberfest -- which are fantastic -- it doesn't seem like there are many ways to connect to other families at or near our homes. I would like to see if the base leadership could help organize block parties or something similar as a way to get to know our neighbors better.
Response: Hanscom is chock full of ways to meet your fellow base residents, so your question tells me that I am way behind the power curve in getting that information out to the people who want it. We talked at the town hall meeting about new ways to share information and we are working now on a base calendar that will be easy for you to find. Until then, here are some helpful hints.
If you like to check things out before you get involved, the following are some places to get information. The Airman and Family Readiness Center has an Installation Commander's Welcome, Family Welcome and Newcomers' Public Transportation and City Orientation to help new Hanscom service members and families get to know each other and the area. The Hanscom Spouses Club (HSC) welcomes new families to the area and sponsors fun community events such as a murder mystery dinner theater in the evening. A call to the hospitality chair at the spouses club, Beth Massie, could prompt some ideas. Also, visit the HSC website at www.hanscomsc.org for more information. You may also want to sign up for the FSS activity e-mails to get the first look at what's going on. There's at least one community social activity per month.
If you are more of the "jump in with both feet" type of person, then volunteer with coaching, scouting, chapel activities, thrift shop, 66th Force Support Squadron activities or head over to the fitness center, dog park, bowling center or movie theater and say hello. You are bound to meet a fellow resident.
We have some very active neighborhoods. I stumbled upon a post-campout breakfast on one of my morning walks. Several neighbors had pitched tents in the common area for a campout. Also, Hunt Pinnacle provides information on hosting block parties. Call 781-861-5062 for more information.
One idea raised at the town hall meeting was to develop a neighborhood "mayor" program. In the past, base housing residents in the various neighborhoods volunteered to be points of contact for ideas or concerns. They could serve as a conduit for block parties and other activity scheduling information so there's no duplication and more people are aware, informed and involved. Fall is a fabulous time of year: enjoy!