By Airman Amanda Lovelace | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHREIVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — For a lot of people, Thanksgiving is a holiday that encourages families to gather and celebrate together, however that can be challenging for Airmen living in the dorms.
Airman 1st Class Katie Naquin, 50th Force Support Squadron customer service journeyman, said she understands the struggles of distance from family during Thanksgiving.
“Being away from home can be challenging for Airmen because that means being separated from your family,” she said. “The focus is really on family [during] a holiday like Thanksgiving, so the separation is really emphasized.”
Being proactive and thinking of different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving can help Airmen enjoy the holiday while away from home. Participating in a “Friendsgiving,” a term commonly used to describe a Thanksgiving meal with friends, can help homesick Airmen have fun during the holiday.
“A Friendsgiving can absolutely boost morale,” Naquin said. “It’s what I’m doing this year. It takes what could otherwise be a reminder of distance between you and your loved ones, and turns it into a fun holiday spent with friends.”
Airman 1st Class Jad Arcega, 50th FSS customer service journeyman, also thinks spending time with other Airmen on the holiday can be beneficial.
“For Airmen living in the dorms, hosting more morale events with their fellow Airmen [can help each other] stay positive and distract them from thoughts of being away from home,” he said.
A lot of Airmen may be far from their families for the first time, so reaching out and getting involved in their new community can help ease the transition.
It’s important to build connections with others, especially during the holidays, because we’re all essentially in the same situation,” Arcega said.
Additionally, staying connected opens the door to forming lasting relationships and allows Airmen to create a family away from home.
“It is important for Airmen to [form bonds] with each other because often times, your coworkers will be the backbone of your local support system,” Naquin said. “You never know where you’re going to end up in the military, but there is definitely a bond formed with your fellow Airmen through shared experiences. Even if something is bad, there’s [going to be] at least one other person who can relate.”
Forming connections and having people to relate with helps Airmen stay resilient, especially when feeling homesick around Thanksgiving.
“By being resilient, you can overcome whatever the holiday season throws at you,” she said. “Resilience can make you more flexible so that even if the holiday isn’t exactly what you’re used to, you can roll with it and make the best of what you’re given.”
The dorm council is scheduled to host a Thanksgiving dinner in the Building 1158 Voyager Hall first floor dayroom at Peterson Air Force Base at 3 p.m., Nov. 15. Free food will be provided by the Peterson AFB Key Spouses Group. Airmen living in the dorms are encouraged to come eat, play games and socialize with other Airmen.