By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — More than 175 people packed the event center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, for the inaugural First Friday event July 13.
First Friday is a monthly morale-building event held the first Friday of every month, where Airmen can play games, eat free food, experience fellowship and enjoy music. (This event was held the second Friday due to the 4th of July Holiday).
“This is something [Col. Jennifer Grant, commander of the 50th Space Wing] wanted to put together so the base could relax and come together,” said Thea Wasche, deputy commander of the 50th Force Support Squadron. “We knew it was going to be a hit, but I didn’t expect it to be as big as it was. We had a huge turnout and people seemed to really enjoy themselves.”
The 50th FSS worked closely with the USO to bring free pizza, sandwiches, frozen custard, beverages and games to the event. Schriever AFB also debunked the unlucky lore of “Friday the 13th” and lucked out, scoring a live performance from the band Willy Pete.
“The food, venue and music were all a nice change of pace from the daily grind,” said Staff Sgt. Jeramy Anderson, sustainment technician with the 50th Space Communication Squadron. “It is one thing for the 50th SW to allow us time away from work to reconnect, but to be able to eat, drink and truly relax shows that the base takes the morale of its troops seriously.”
In addition to allowing Airmen the opportunity to unwind, the event gave them a chance to connect with each other.
“The event provided a great location to interact and bond with squadron members you don’t get to see very often, and also allowed access to individuals from other squadrons to discuss how different topics uniquely affect separate units,” said Capt. Wolf Thielmann, engineering flight commander with the 4th Space Operations Squadron.
According to Wasche, feedback like Anderson’s and Thielmann’s indicates event planners hit the nail on the head.
“It definitely hit the mark colonel Grant was shooting for,” Wasche said. “It was so full, there were people inside and outside. I thought it was great. We had food for 400 people and ran out, so that tells you how popular it was.”
Thielmann said the location of the event was key to its success.
“The event center’s location removed from the Restricted Area provides an environment separated from the workplace which allows Airmen to temporarily detach from work-related issues,” he said. “I think that the event center can become a great location which individuals associate with morale events.”
The level of leadership buy-in for the event impressed Wasche and she credited it with the scale of turnout.
“Leadership buy-in is huge,” Wasche said. “The fact leaders were so vocal about promoting the event really encouraged Airmen to attend. Leaders stopped in to check on everyone and spend time getting to know their Airmen. That kind of genuine effort really says a lot about the caliber of leaders we have here.”
With the inaugural First Friday under its belt, Schriever AFB looks to capitalize on the momentum and word is already spreading fast.
“I have already bragged about how good it was to the rest of my co-workers who did not attend and they plan on attending next month,” said Senior Airman Kevin Doran, acting noncommissioned officer in charge of the dental laboratory with the 21st Medical Squadron.
Wasche encouraged anyone who didn’t attend, or who may be considering attending the next event, to make time to enjoy the next First Friday, Aug. 3.
“There is always time for work,” she said. “It’s not going anywhere. You need to reset your energy and you’ll be a better person for it.”
First Friday events are also in need of volunteers for setup and tear down. Volunteers can contact Wasche at 567-3445.