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New program, office space extend chaplain's service

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In an effort to be accessible to more Team Schriever members and provide awareness and information, the 50th Space Wing Chaplain's Office has opened its first satellite office and will soon launch a "Chat with a Chaplain/Chaplain Assistant" program.

The satellite office is located in Building 210, Room 270, next to the Equal Opportunity office.

"We wanted to think about this base, how can we meet the needs of our people," said Tech. Sgt. Tawny Devine, 50 SW chaplain's assistant. "This [new office] helps us do that. It makes it easier for everybody, I'm very excited."

Devine said part of the drive to find a satellite location was due to current assignments within the chaplain's office.

"We have people in the restricted area and we have religious support teams assigned to those people," Devine said. "Chaplain [(Maj.) Martin] Adamson and I are not. So how do we think out of the box to get out of the RA, so when an Airman wants to come see us they can say, 'Hey, I'm going to grab some coffee,' and they know they can be back in 30 minutes."

Adamson said the new space will also help the entire office serve both Airmen and their families, since they won't have to go into the RA or search for an outside location to meet.

"This helps us not only with our active duty military and civilians, but also with families," Adamson said. "There's a space now that any of our chaplains can use if they want to meet with families. They can come here and meet with people who are harder to get inside the RA."

The new office space is still operating in a temporary setup, with little furniture and laptop computers, making regular office hours somewhat difficult. Once desks and computers are installed, they will be able to have all the same functionality as the office in the RA, including regular hours.

"A lot of times we're not in our office because we're out visiting and engaging different units," Adamson said. "So sometimes you can't just stop by because we might be out, but by and large, we'll have those hours posted and we'll have a sign that will say, 'Hey, we're out in this area,' so people will know where we're at."

In addition to preparing the new location, the chaplains have been putting together a new program to help them provide information and training, while focusing on the needs of individual squadrons.

The "Chat with a Chaplain" program was created in response to feedback from surveys and will focus on providing supervisors with more resources to help them care for their Airmen.

"Unlike any base I've been a part of, the number one issue we see people for is workplace issues," Adamson said. "Usually it's relationships. Family relationships, marital relationships, but here at Schriever it's workplace issues. Some of it is supervisor related, so all these things seem to be telling us let's try to help supervisors be better supervisors and [Chat with a Chaplain] is where we can do it."

Adamson stressed having workplace issues as the top reason for counseling isn't necessarily a reflection of working conditions at Schriever.

"It's not that Schriever's really bad, just because we're highlighting this issue with supervisors it doesn't mean that at all," he said. "We're not saying everybody's doing things wrong and it's a mess. No things are actually, by and large really good, we have a really strong, healthy community here at Schriever."

The plan is to focus on one squadron each month, providing three sessions, one for enlisted supervisors, one for officer supervisors and one for Airmen. By focusing on a single squadron at a time, the chaplains will be better able to meet the needs of that particular squadron, building a more resilient community within the squadron.

"We're all about trying to build community because you see fewer suicides in community, you see more resilient people in community," Devine said. "If they have people to turn to, they will be less likely to do anything [drastic]."

Unlike other informational programs, Chat with a Chaplain will not be a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Instead, the chaplains are looking for a more interactive discussion where they can help individuals work through specific situations and how to handle them.

"We don't want to do death by PowerPoint, we want to talk to people," Devine said. "We do want to equip them, but we want a lot of it to be interaction. I think that is a great thing to make sure people know is that we want people to bring their experiences and we want to share ours and be able to come together and all grow as a group." 

For more information, contact the Chapel at 567-3705.
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