SAI offers new experiences, connections
By Brian Hagberg, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 24, 2015
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Single Airmen on Schriever Air Force Base will have plenty to look forward to in 2015.
The Single Airman Initiative will return for its fourth year and the wildly popular program has no intention of slowing down.
"My plans (for 2015) include an indoor skydiving trip, and paying participation fees for a new themed race coming to Colorado Springs," said Seth Cannello, Schriever AFB Fitness Center director.
The SAI program, which is funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was designed to provide resources that foster a strong culture, mission and sense of community for single Airmen. The program is open to any Air Force active duty or Air Reserve Component member, enlisted or officer, without a spouse, including geographically separated Airmen.
"The SAI program gives me the opportunity to get out of the office, meet new people from the base and experience something I would not have done on my own," said Staff Sgt Angela Leos, 25th Space Range Squadron.
"The SAI program is perfect for people who want to get out and be adventurous," said 1st Lt. Erica Sparkman, 4th Space Operations Squadron. "This program is one of the many hidden secrets of Schriever AFB and I always suggest to single people on base to take advantage of this program."
The SAI program was initiated following feedback received during the 2010 Caring for People Forum, 2011 Single Airmen Summit and additional single Airmen focus groups. Phase I of the program was executed in October 2011, and was met with huge success. SAI is now on phase V.
"We have taken Airmen zip lining, skydiving, white water rafting, gone on a helicopter tour and have even paid registration fees for the Spartan Race," Cannello said.
Leos has attended multiple SAI events, including river rafting, the helicopter tour and the program's most recent trip to Sky Zone and said all the events are well planned and enjoyable.
"Being in a tenant unit on Schriever puts me outside of the restricted area which means I don't get a lot of interaction with other Airmen," Leos said. "It's nice to sign up for these events and know that I'll get to meet new people while doing something fun and exciting."
If Airmen have ideas for future program events, they should bring them to Cannello's attention. The only restriction is that the events must be interactive, so SAI funds can't be used to purchase tickets to concerts or sporting events.
"Mr. Cannello does a great job of selecting activities that can interest practically anybody," Sparkman said. "I have been a participant on trips as mellow as Painting with a Twist, to extreme activities such as sky diving. What makes these trips even more appealing is that most are offered for free or at a discounted cost."
Cannello added he tries to come up with as many diverse events as possible in order to appeal to the widest audience. That's one reason he decided to add indoor skydiving (scheduled for March 20 and April 3), which creates true free fall conditions without needing to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and the Inflatable 5K, scheduled for May 9, to the list of events in 2015.
According to its website (http://insaneinflatable5k.com/), the Insane Inflatable 5k is a "new dynamic and extreme obstacle race, made up solely of inflatable obstacles." The course is not timed and people may participate individually or as a team, precisely the type of event Cannello is looking for from SAI.
"Seth really knows how to set up awesome events that will let people experience all that Colorado Springs has to offer," Leos said.
Cannello said the biggest issue with the SAI program is letting people know what events are on the horizon.
"We have a lot of new Airmen that come to Schriever and putting together an accurate single Airmen distribution list is next to impossible," he said.
In addition to the Inflatable 5K and indoor sky diving trips, Cannello recently announced that a traditional sky diving trip will take place May 8 and on June 20 the group will participate in a glider riding experience.
SAI event announcements are sent to squadron first sergeants, members of the sports advisory council and posted in the base bulletin, Cannello said. Airmen also need to make sure they are available to attend an event before registering.
For more information or for a complete list of 2015 events, contact Cannello or call the fitness center at 567-6628.