Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Schriever Sentinel

Summer Slam has something for everyone

U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg Carter Salim (left), Capt. Raquel Salim, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, Anna Hagberg and Senior Airman Autumn Hagberg, 4th Space Operations Squadron, ride an elephant during the annual Summer Slam Base Picnic Friday, July 17, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The elephant rides were just one of many activities, including a dunk tank, mock deployment line and free lunch, attendees could participate in at the event.

By Brian Hagberg

50th Space Wing Public Affairs

Approximately 3,500 members of Team 5-0 attended the annual Summer Slam base picnic here July 17, and by all accounts, the event was a success.

“It was great to hear people say how great the picnic was, even in the heat and pauses in the food line when we could not keep up the supply with the unexpected demand in the first few hours,” said Thea Wasche, 50th Force Support Squadron deputy commander.

In addition to the food, which nearly 2,000 attendees took time to sample, the picnic also offered the opportunity to view vehicles from the 50th Security Forces Squadron and Schriever Fire Department, attempt to dunk members of base leadership, ride an elephant or camel and sample entertainment from the Colorado Renaissance Festival.

“We overheard one family talking on their cell phone [and] telling their friend about the elephant and camel rides,” Wasche said. “They said, ‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.’ That is exactly what we were trying to give to Team 5-0, something they have never experienced before and I think we hit that mark.”

Senior Airman Gladys Pope, 50th Space Communication Squadron, said elephants and camels weren’t what she pictured when people told her about military events.

“Before joining the military, if I would have thought of a military event, I would not have pictured this,” Pope said. “Elephants and camels, who would have thought?”

The picnic did include more traditional military events. The Airman and Family Readiness Center had a mock deployment line available for children.

“Our goal was to let them know what their parents go through before they deploy,” said Master Sgt. Tonya Jones, NCO in charge of A&FRC.

Jones said children were in-processed, given “immunizations,” mobility bags, camouflage face paint and identification cards. They were then passed on to junior ROTC members to learn how to march and stand in formation.

“They told us to have a straight face and keep our feet together and taught us how to march and do about face,” said Anna McLaughlin, Schriever School Age Program student. “It was fun.”

Pope said she loved the mock deployment line and that it was her favorite part of the festivities. She also stressed the importance of holding events like Summer Slam.

“I think it’s very important [to have these events], especially since there’s not a lot out here, it’s good to have big things like this,” Pope said.

Housing resident Brittney Conkey said these types of events also serve as a way to bring the community together.

“I think [Summer Slam] is really great. It’s a lot of fun for the kids and it’s a good interaction for everyone who lives out here,” Conkey said. “It’s great for the kids to be able to do stuff like this and have something to go to.”

Wasche said volunteers made the event successful and possible.

“It took almost 120 volunteers for this event,” Wasche said. “It takes an entire force to set up, run and take down a program of this magnitude; we could never have done it without them. Without the sponsors and the volunteers, this event could not have been possible.”

The next major FSS event, the Children’s Holiday Fest, is scheduled for Dec. 5.

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