By Airman 1st Class Ericka Woolever, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 06, 2019
Members of the 31st Fighter Wing Staff Agencies gather for a free lunch event at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Sept. 6, 2019. The lunch was coordinated through a new program called Unite, which gives squadron commanders more options to facilitate unit cohesion activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rebeccah Woodrow)
Members of the 31st Fighter Wing Staff Agencies gather for a free lunch event at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Sept. 6, 2019. The lunch, bought by Unite program funds, consisted of traditional Greek cuisine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rebeccah Woodrow)
A Unite Program sign-up sheet sits on a table at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Sept. 6, 2019. The new program aims to give squadron commanders more ways to facilitate unit cohesion events that foster morale and camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rebeccah Woodrow)
In August 2016, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, released his letter to Airmen titled, ‘The Beating Heart of the Air Force…Squadrons!’ where his number one focus was to revitalize squadrons.
In turn, the Air Force Services Agency created the Unite program, where unit commanders are provided the funding to initiate programs that build and strengthen unit cohesion.
“A cohesive team is more resilient and effective when carrying out its mission, and its members have a better quality of life,” said Katie McGill, community cohesion coordinator from the 31st Force Support Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. “The Unite program gives Team Aviano the resources to plan and execute events that foster team building and focus on increasing camaraderie all while providing an opportunity for fun.”
The goals set for the program are to support squadron commanders, maximize the use of FSS facilities, measure impact and provide maximum flexibility to squadron leaders.
All personnel assigned to a unit — Active Duty, APF/NAF Civilians and Local Nationals are funded by the program.
The funding allocation is based on squadron end strength. Each squadron is given five dollars per person to include one meal for their food and a non-alcoholic beverage.
“The funding for the Unite program is divided into two categories: food and program expenses,” said McGill. “For food, every active duty, civilian and local national assigned to a unit will receive $5.00 per person.”
In the future, there will also be an event allowance, which will help offset event costs.
“For program expenses, all assigned unit personnel will receive $17.50 to offset the cost of an event,” said McGill.
Events can range from outdoor adventures, themed fun runs, indoor go-karting or even a park clean-up and barbeque.
“The Security Forces Squadron rented out the movie theater on two different afternoons to watch the new Fast and Furious movie,” said McGill. “A number of units have utilized FSS food facilities to cater their squadron picnics with options such as a pulled pork sandwich bar.”
Overall, Team Aviano unites because we want to develop a new skill, improve physical fitness, increase camaraderie, promote interaction, foster fun or relaxation and reinforce team values.
To get more information about the Unite program, reach out to your respective unit’s point of contact.