Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Caring for People Forum needs input from Airmen

By Lea Johnson

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Do you have suggestions for how the Air Force can improve its programs and quality of life? Then take note because the Air Force wants to know what you think.

As part of this year’s Caring for People Forum, the base will be holding different focus groups during the last two weeks of April to stimulate discussions on what the Air Force can do to take better care of its people.

Al Strait, 21st Space Wing director of staff and IDS chairman, said the forum is an Air Force program that provides installation commanders valuable information on issues that impact the quality of life experienced by Airmen and their families.

The Peterson Caring for People Forum is organized by the Community Action Information Board and the Integrated Delivery System, Strait said.

This year’s focus groups and topics will include single Airmen, key spouses, retirees, first sergeants, company grade officers, non commissioned officers, youth support, and Airmen who have recently deployed.

Groups are broken down by demographic to encourage discussion and make participants feel more at ease among their peers.

Each group will consist of 12 to 15 people and an impartial facilitator, Strait said. “We’re not looking for yes/no answers, but we’re looking for in-depth discussion on what the Airmen, CGO or spouse’s opinions are,” he said. “We want to know about the programs we have in existence today. Are they working and meeting the needs of Team Peterson members? Are they helping those who need help? If we’re not, then we need to refocus or take a different (approach) than we have right now.”

The concerns that Airmen bring up during focus group discussions that can’t be taken care of at the wing level, will be passed up to Air Force Space Command. From there, AFSPC will select between 10 and 20 concerns to discuss at the Air Force Caring for People Forum this fall. At the national conference, 60 to 70 different concerns may be discussed and narrowed down to 10 initiatives the Air Force will focus on in 2013.

Past initiatives have included providing funding to hire Exceptional Family Member Program coordinators and improving the Air Force fitness culture.

“This is everybody’s opportunity to really influence Air Force programs, whether it is related to health and wellness programs, Airmen or family,” Strait said.

“This forum relates directly to our wing’s priority to lead and take care of our people,” said Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander. “The Air Force’s quality of life programs are vitally important, and I encourage anyone interested — anyone with a good idea — to be involved and help make these programs even better.”

Anyone who is interested in being part of a focus group or being a facilitator for a discussion should contact the Director of Staff office. The CAIB and IDS are also accepting questions that Airmen would like to have asked during discussions.

For more information, call 556-6891.

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