New program prepares Airmen, families to bounce back after deployments

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Christian Michael
  • Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs
Air Force services recently added a new tool to encourage service members and their families who are affected by deployments to participate in morale, welfare, and recreation programs and activities. The “Recharge for Resiliency” (R4R) initiative was designed to help Airmen readjust to life at home and also include families in their reintegration.

“Not only does R4R create new opportunities for Airmen to spend time with families in a decompressed environment, but it also exposes them to numerous programs already available to them through the morale, welfare and recreation programs at Air Force installations,” said Linda Weston, the special programs manager at Air Force Services Activity.

At Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Youth Programs and Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston mobilization and deployment, R4R recently funded a campout with multiple military families, which offered families the chance to experience recreational camping in a group environment.

“Military families are looking to do things together as a family,” said Jared Moore, the teen director at Lackland youth programs. “Camping is one of those activities that some families are not willing to do alone, so we provided an inexpensive family recreation environment t.hat people are willing to participate in because other military families will be present.”

With lots of positive feedback from the campout participants, Moore said that the R4R program was great for military families and had a lot of potential if given the chance to grow, especially given R4R’s versatility and ability to connect people to a real decompression outlet.

“The advantage that the R4R program provides is it creates a nonthreatening environment where people can recharge themselves,” Moore said. “I can only hope that people take advantage of the opportunities that are to come.”

Still other units are using R4R for AFSVA’s Golf Player Development program. Hurlburt Field, Florida; Dover Air Force Base, Delaware; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Aviano Air Base, Italy; and Osan AB, South Korea, are just some of the bases scheduled to host this exciting new program. The Golf Player Development program consists of four, 1.5-hour clinics conducted with the assistance of former Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour professionals, who play alongside participants.

Because R4R uses existing programs, AFSVA is able to focus on making programs highly customizable to each location based on local resources, facilities and demographics. Also, to reduce impact on current programs and workload, the initiative can be implemented as best suits each unit, ranging from ready-to-launch program schedules to custom events created on-site.

“Services programs are critical parts of the Air Force readiness and retention equation,” Weston said. “These programs contribute to readiness and productivity by promoting fitness, esprit de corps and quality of life. To support Airmen and the mission requires organizing, training and equipping properly to ensure success.”

The $1.5 million initiative is voluntary for units. Currently, 38 Air Force installations participate in R4R, and any remaining units interested in participating must execute funds allotted for their populations by Sept. 30. Air Force Reserve Command doesn't offer R4R, as it already operates the Yellow Ribbon Program for reservists en route to and from deployment.

For more information on available R4R programs, contact the local base force support squadron.