Settling into another base can be a challenging experience, especially when you are unfamiliar with your new surroundings.
Thankfully, there are people at the Airman and Family Readiness Center who are dedicated to welcoming new members of the KMC to their new duty station.
Base introduction facilitators from the AFRC are responsible for making sure new KMC members are given sufficient information to familiarize themselves with their new community.
While representatives from various units around Ramstein brief the newcomers about their respective organizations, Kathy Keane, AFRC community readiness consultant, and her colleagues facilitate the whole base intro program.
“The base intro briefing is their first interface with the AFRC,” Keane said. “It’s just a warm, friendly face letting them know we’re the information and referral agency. As they’re transitioning in, they can get all the information they need from us. If we don’t know it, we’ll get it for them.”
The purpose of the program is to provide new KMC members with their mandatory briefings, which are a part of their inprocessing.
“But they also get valuable information on the services that are available here at Ramstein to help them and their families transition,” Keane said. “They get a lot of customs and cultural information.”
Keane stressed the importance of base intro, saying she wasn’t able to attend it when she came to Ramstein and wished she had received the information her participants receive today.
“Unfortunately, I did not go to the newcomer’s briefing when I first got here. I was not in the workforce at that time,” Keane said, explaining that base intro is mandatory for active-duty members and optional for family members. “I wish I would have known some of the services that the AFRC had available for family members.”
A base intro facilitator, along with the rest of the AFRC family, must be sensitive and compassionate toward the people they serve, Keane added.
“I think they have to have a caring heart,” Keane said. “I think anybody that works at the AFRC has to care. … And we’ve got a whole slew of people there that have that: they care, they’re knowledgeable and they’re helpful.”
Airman 1st Class Gregory Schroeder, 721st Aerial Port Squadron air transportation apprentice, found base intro to be very helpful and informative. Schroeder is new to Ramstein and the Air Force and says the briefings helped him prepare for what he will face on the job and in his career.
“You never know what’s going to happen, especially somewhere where you don’t know (much about). I’m excited for the adventure,” Schroeder said. “They give you a lot of information, things you need to know to get around such as things that are good to do and (things) not to do. The facilitators keep you interested. They explain things in-depth from examples that they’ve been through and give you the best advice that they could.”
Whether it’s a new Airman beginning his career at Ramstein or a longtime member with many stripes on his sleeve, Keane and other briefers from the AFRC are ready to give them a warm welcome.