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FSS campout builds unity

Members of Team V roast marshmallows during the first ever Family Campout event, July 10, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The free, family oriented event took place at Cocheo Park and included a barbeque, a movie showing -- and various other activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Williams/Released)

Members of Team V roast marshmallows during the first ever Family Campout event, July 10, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The free, family oriented event took place at Cocheo Park and included a barbeque, a movie showing -- and various other activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Williams/Released)

The 30th Force Support Squadron recently hosted its first ever Family Campout event, here, July 10 through 11. The free, family oriented event took place at Cocheo Park and included a barbeque, a movie showing -- and various other activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Williams/Released)

The 30th Force Support Squadron recently hosted its first ever Family Campout event, here, July 10 through 11. The free, family oriented event took place at Cocheo Park and included a barbeque, a movie showing -- and various other activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Williams/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Force Support Squadron recently hosted its first ever Family Campout event, here, July 10 through 11.

The free, family oriented event took place at Cocheo Park and included a barbeque, a movie showing -- and various other activities.

"This was the first, of what we hope to be, an annual family campout," said Janice Hollen, 30th FSS deputy director. "We had a barbeque, s'mores, a movie for the children, and a pancake breakfast. It was really just a fun camping night for families."

Originally a part of the Recharge for Resiliency program, the event was modified to include all members of Team V and their families.

"The initial start of this was as part of our Recharge for Resiliency program, which is designed to allow people returning from a deployment the opportunity to reconnect with their families," said Larry Horsley, 30th FSS community services flight chief. "We then decided to open it up to the rest of the base in order to really build on our whole community."

Along with enhancing camaraderie, the occasion provided an opportunity for beginners to learn how to camp in a safe and controlled environment.

"Events like this are real morale builders," said Hollen. "We do things for all different ages, but for this event we really wanted to bring families together. It's definitely a safe way to learn to camp and it brings everyone together, which is what we're all about in the Force Support Squadron."

With high operations tempos and budgetary cutbacks affecting the military, force support programs play an essential role in taking care of the Air Force's most valuable asset - the Airmen.

"The Air Force is under a high operations tempo which can create stress for families, and this is a great way to just kick-back and build some esprit de corps," said Horsley. "We hope that people are able to forget about work and just enjoy California. Where else can you camp all year round?"

In addition to providing valuable recreational enjoyment for Airmen and their families, FSS leadership believes programs like the campout can have a tangible impact on mission success.

"If people can enjoy themselves, their family and others in their off time, they can return to the mission rested and with a good mental state," said Hollen. "What's important is supporting families in any way we can, and this is definitely one of the events that achieves that goal."

For event coordinators, it was just another opportunity to accomplish the Force Support Squadron's primary mission of taking care of Airmen and their families.

"It gives you a good feeling to know you are taking care of those who take care of the country," said Horsley. "You get a good sense of accomplishment when you see the families enjoying a new program. We're always trying to come up with new ideas, so if anyone brings an idea to us, we are open to trying it out."