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Vance updates newcomers orientation, saves Airmen time

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kathy Duran
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- To save Airmen’s time and reduce the stress of moving to a new installation, Team Vance re-invented the way Airmen and their families new to the base get information. 

“The Newcomers Orientation used to be four hours long. Twenty agencies would brief, and it was a total of 200 plus PowerPoint slides in a dark auditorium,” said Greg Waide, the Airman & Family Readiness Center director. “It was just not a great way for new Airmen to remember information.”

Today, the orientation is a family-friendly information fair that runs for under an hour. 

2nd Lt. Christian Munoz, a new 71st Flying Training Wing student pilot, attended the orientation with his father, mother and sister. 

“I’m glad a healthcare representative was here,” said Maricela Munoz, the lieutenant’s mother. “He (Christian) was part of our medical insurance, and now that he’ll have his own, I was able to speak with the person at the table.”

In 2020, A&FRC conducted surveys to see what new Airmen thought about the old briefing and 67% of people canvased said the briefings were too long. The Wing leadership team read the survey data and directed a change to the status quo that would be beneficial to Airmen and their families, said Waide.

During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Newcomers Orientation morphed into an online-style class with virtual PowerPoint slides and a quiz at the end. The online slides were a temporary fix and were not meeting the needs of Vance’s incoming families, said Waide

“Prior briefings were ‘death by PowerPoint,’ and it was hard for new Airmen to be engaged throughout the whole briefing,” said Airman 1st Class Mikaya Wilson, 71st Comptroller Squadron financial management technician. 

Wilson attend the old briefing when she moved to Vance and now runs the Finance table at the Newcomers information fair. Now newcomers only visit the tables they need, she said. “They can ask questions and spend time at the tables most relevant to them.” 

The information fair begins with a welcome from the Wing leadership team and a brief history of the base. A video introduces new families to Vance’s mission, vision and priorities. After Q&As with leadership, the attendees are released to visit the information tables.

The information fair has 18 different tables with on and off-base agencies such as TRICARE, finance, child and youth programs, chapel, Air Force Assistance Fund and Visit Enid. 

For more information about Newcomers Orientation, contact the A&FRC at 580-213-6330 or visit them in Building 314.