By Fin Truant | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been challenging for Airmen and Guardians to connect with their peers, but two Peterson-Schriever Garrison Airmen found a way to overcome and form bonds in a simple way: they formed a video game club.
“I’m a huge video gamer, so I haven’t really been struggling too much with all the free time,” said Airman 1st Class Christian Anderson, 21st Communication Squadron cable and antenna technician. “But I figured that there’d be a lot of other people that are in a similar position, and maybe we could get people in contact with each other and get to know other Airmen on base.”
Anderson saw advertising around base encouraging Airmen and Guardians to establish or join clubs to connect with others as well as pass the time at home that COVID-19 restrictions created. However, there was no video game club listed, so he reached out to the person in charge of clubs, Staff Sgt. Andrew Tello, 21st Communications Squadron unit training and deployment manager. With Tello’s advice and assistance in promoting the club, Anderson started a server on an instant messaging and Voice over Internet Protocol service to connect video game-playing Airmen and Guardians. Currently, he co-leads the club with Senior Airman Brice Brewington, 50th Operations Support Squadron satellite communications operator, who is stationed at Schriever AFB. The club has mostly been advertised to dormitory service members so far, but over 20 Airmen and Guardians have joined the club’s VoIP server, and plans exist to advertise the club across Front Range military communities.
“We’ve tried our best to seek out what games people want to play or [organize] a tournament online,” said Anderson.
The framework for this gaming club, and many others on base, was spawned in late 2019, after a resilience event that encouraged Peterson AFB Airmen to build closer ties to one another with empathy, compassion and vulnerability. Tello assisted in bringing the programing to Peterson with support from violence prevention integrator Michel Cremeans. Tello had attended a similar event in his teens and he wanted to share what he’d learned with his fellow service members. One of the big takeaways from the resilience event was an impetus to “be the change” to make healthier, more interconnected workplaces and communities. This led to the formation of a “Be the Change” group on base, which spawned the idea for clubs in turn.
“The purpose of the clubs is to connect all the members at Peterson and Schriever,” said Tello.
“[That] includes any spouses, dependents, contractors, military, civilian and DoD [personnel], as long as they’re at least 18 years old. Three goals we’re looking for [are]: people to meet new people, to foster a sense of community, and we want to spend time doing what they already like to do.”
For Anderson and Brewington, that initiative means big things are on the horizon for their video game club.
“With COVID and work from home, it’s difficult to try and plan or advertise anything… but we’ve been working on remodeling part of the bowling alley to become a gaming center,” said Anderson. “We haven’t come up with a cool name yet, but we wanted to have maybe 10 to 12 PCs for local tournaments.”
For more information on clubs, how to join one or start a new club to share your interests with others, visit www.peterson.spaceforce.mil/Community/Find-Your-Club/.