By Scott Prater
In an effort to ease the strain of deployment on active duty Air Force members and their families, the AF Personnel Center recently announced the launch of a new discount services program.
Called PLAYpass, the new support program is an offshoot of the “DePlayment” program, which was created and activated during 2010 as part of the Year of the Air Force Family campaign.
However, this new support program is different from DePlayment in one key aspect. The former program served eligible dependents of active duty members during the member’s deployment, whereas PLAYpass also benefits single Airmen who are returning from deployment.
“The PLAYpass program is divided up into AF families and single Airmen,” said Loura Lopez, community readiness consultant and Schriever’s PLAYpass program coordinator. “Single Airmen will be provided a PLAYpass card when they arrive back on base from a deployment. But, if you’re a family member of a deployed Airman, we’re going to issue you a card to use while the member is deployed. Dependents will each receive an individual card, which holds discount blocks for the different support agencies on base.”
Through the program, Airmen and their families receive substantial discounts through a wide variety of on-base services and agencies such as life-skill classes offered by Force Support Squadrons, recreational programs at fitness centers and recreational trips and tours offered by Information, Tickets and Travel.
“PLAYpass includes a lot of different activities for people like arts and crafts, bowling, golf and aero club along with recreation and fitness,” Mrs. Lopez said. “We want families to be able to enjoy these benefits while the member is deployed. And for the single deployed Airman, these same activities become beneficial following their deployment.
They’ll have 90 days to use the discounts provided by the program.”
PLAYpass is administrated through the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Eligible Airmen can pick up their PLAYpass cards by bringing a copy of their deployment orders to the A&FRC.
Mrs. Lopez indicated that hourly childcare at the Child Development Center and youth sports programs will be the only places people will be able to use their PLAYpass cards at Schriever, however, PLAYpass cards can be used at every Air Force base worldwide.
“That means families in Colorado can use their PLAYpass cards at Peterson AFB and the U.S. Air Force Academy,” she said. “It also means if a family wants to relocate closer to home while the member is deployed, they can still obtain their cards here, but use them at the base closest to their location.”
PLAYpass was activated May 28. Since the program is so new, Mrs. Lopez said no one has yet to take advantage of it here.
Master Sgt. Gabe Moreno, A&FRC readiness noncommissioned officer, administered the DePlayment program here which ended during July of 2010 and he indicated that the similar program was extremely popular among families at Schriever.
“A lot of people used the DePlayment program for tickets, tours and also golf,” he said. “Any way that families can benefit from services and support on-base makes things a little easier for them during deployments. It’s small in what’s provided, but giving people something that says we appreciate your service, really helps.”
Mrs. Lopez was clear to indicate that PLAYpass discount cards are nontransferable and can only be used for the sponsor family identified on the card, with exception of single Airman who may apply any balance of a card’s coupon block toward an authorized guest. The cards are also not valid for food, beverage or merchandise.
“Single Airmen who want to take a trip or tour can bring a guest along, so they don’t have to go alone,” Mrs. Lopez said. “We want people to take advantage of the program and we realize most people won’t want to take a tour by themselves.”
Airmen and families can find eligibility rules and obtain more information about the program by visiting www.myairforcelife.com.