Community members get peek at Fort Carson, military life
June 20, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Phyllis Nichols never had much exposure to the Army until she came to Army 101 June 4.
Nichols, a new volunteer with G.I. Grannies for Soldier Support, said the experience was eye-opening.
"You know there are spouses. You know there are children. And you see the welcome home productions on television, but this made it real.
This is poignant. You see them. They're real. It's not a staged thing," she said.
Army 101 -- an Army Community Service program which was awarded the Army Community of Excellence award in 2010 -- is geared toward anyone in the community who has an interest in learning more about life on post, said Nate Nugin, Family Enrichment Program manager, ACS.
"It gives them a more up close and personal look at the programs here at Fort Carson," he said. "The more they know about Fort Carson, the more effective they can be in meeting the needs of our Soldiers and Family members."
There were representatives from GIGSS, Ecumenical Social Ministries and Regis University, among others, and reasons for coming to the program varied.
"I really want to know how to counsel and support wives whose husbands are deployed," said Sherena Holmes, a licensed professional counselor and GIGSS volunteer. "I've noticed the pain that the military wives are in. … Before I approach the Families, I want to learn more."
The class, offered quarterly, gives an overview of Army rank and structure, acronyms, the impact of deployments and resources available to Soldiers, and includes a 30-minute bus tour of Fort Carson and lunch in a dining facility.
Attendance for the quarterly program fluctuates, but the average is 20 to 25, Nugin said.
"It's a little taste of life out here," he said.
The program is also an opportunity for community service providers to find out more about the services offered on Fort Carson.
"We wanted to hear what's out here, so if we do have Soldiers come in, we can tell them," said Marcia Hanscom, director of direct services at Ecumenical Social Ministries. "It's a good resource."
In a conversation over lunch, she learned more about different off-post programs offered to veterans.
"If we wouldn't have been here today, we wouldn't have known about it," she said.
The course has also been offered at different locations. Army 101 instructors have traveled as far away as Denver and Trinidad and have given the class at the Colorado Springs Police and Fire departments and the police training academy.
"(The class is given) any place there's people who have a stake (in Fort Carson)," Nugin said.
Nichols, who moved to Colorado Springs from Topeka, Kan., 18 months ago, saw the value of the course.
"This is a great opportunity," she said. "Everyone in town should come out."