UNITE program builds bonds for Hanscom AFB-connected units

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Since its inception in 2019, the UNITE program has provided organizations here with opportunities for team-building and recreational activities to foster stronger bonds among teams.

Funding allows commanders and directors to create unit-focused strategies to strengthen team morale and cultivate an environment that promotes collaboration and shared purpose, according to program officials.

"UNITE offers funding for leaders to bring teams together for activity-based recreational events," said Courtney Cann, Hanscom AFB community cohesion coordinator.

The Air Force-wide program allocates $13.50 per person for recreational activities, with an additional $5 per person for food. This funding is based on event attendance, rather than a total budget.

Funding covers costs for Air Force and Space Force active duty personnel, Reserve, Guard units within a 100-mile radius of Hanscom AFB, and appropriated and non-appropriated funded civilian employees.

Dependents can also participate with unit leader approval.

According to Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems officials, who recently volunteered at a horseback riding program for children with special needs, not all team-building activities are the same.

“The CROWS team worked together moving bales of hay, removing and cleaning light fixtures and replacing lightbulbs, cleaning oscillating fans in each of the horse stalls, power washing the horse trailer, cleaning the water troughs, and shining up mirrors,” said Susanne Fothergill, CROWS executive administrator who coordinated the activity. “There was a list of items when we walked in, and when we left, the entire list was erased from the board. She was absolutely thrilled.”

The success of the event was attributed to UNITE program officials for providing support throughout the planning process.

"I’m grateful to have funds to afford our folks the opportunity to participate in events like this," said Fothergill. "With so many working remotely, we need to get people together to talk face to face and interact."

To utilize UNITE funds, unit leaders should coordinate with their designated UNITE point of contact and submit a request to Cann for approval by the C3 and the Air Force Services Center.

Events must adhere to specific guidelines, and certain functions are excluded, such as holiday parties and end-of-year events.

For more information about the UNITE program at Hanscom AFB or to inquire about a UNITE POC, contact Courtney Cann at Courtney.Cann@us.af.mil.