By Ms. Mary Ann Davis (IMCOM)March 16, 2017
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- It's time to round up some sponsorship know-how, so mosey on over to the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Total Army Sponsorship Program Rodeo at Armstrong's Club on Vogelweh from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., March 23.
The TASP Rodeo saddles Kaiserslautern and Baumholder Army leaders with the information and tools necessary to establish and sustain an effective sponsorship program within their units, said Lydia Pete, Ready and Resilient Program Specialist.
"Sponsorship is a commander's tool to form a successful team," she said. "Helping new Soldiers and their families integrate into the unit and community is the first step in having a successful team."
Sponsorship typically begins after Soldiers or civilian employees receive their assignment notification. For many Soldiers, civilians and their families, this may be their first time living and working outside of the United States and that can be intimidating. As a result, the role of a sponsor is vital in ensuring newcomers have a clear understanding of what to expect before they get to their new duty station and host country.
The TASP Rodeo features 14 information booths staffed with subject-matter experts who will provide information to participants on all aspects of sponsorship, Pete said.
"It's a one stop shop experience enabling participants to absorb vital information from the subject matter experts. The Total Army Sponsorship Rodeo will inform leaders and ensure they gain the tools and knowledge that will enable them to maintain an effective Sponsorship program within their units," she said.
This ain't their first TASP Rodeo -- it's actually their third.
The sponsorship rodeo began from a 2015 U.S. Army in Europe Inspector General finding stating U.S. Army Europe needed to revamp its sponsorship program. In July 2015, USAG RP was the first garrison in Installation Management Command-Europe to conduct a sponsorship rodeo and has run the event annually since then.
The program focuses on providing resource information for pre-arrival, arrival and post arrival from all agencies, Pete said.
"The intended audience is senior military and civilian leadership, unit sponsorship coordinators, Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, Family Readiness Group leaders, Family Readiness Support assistants and Family Readiness liaisons," she said.
Sponsors need to begin a dialog with their newcomers early to assess their needs and answer questions regarding finances, entitlements, housing, spouse employment, career, medical and schools along the way, Pete said.
"Everyone's move is different. There is no cookie-cutter way to sponsor someone. Sponsors need to tailor the information to meet the needs of newcomers and try to answer their questions to the best of their abilities using the resources offered at the TASP rodeo," she explained. "Leaders, supervisors and sponsorship program administrators need to gather and pass this information on to sponsors within their unit to ensure newcomers will move to their area with little or no issues along the way."
Sponsors play a huge role in ensuring newcomers are well taken care of and their transition takes place as smoothly as possible, said Col. Keith E. Igyarto, USAG RP commander.
"I can't emphasize enough how vital a strong sponsorship program is in providing our newcomers, both Soldiers and civilians, with the necessary tools and information that allows for the smooth, successful transition to mission focus and a ready-to-fight mentality," the garrison commander said. "That's why this sponsorship rodeo program is so important for our senior leaders to attend. It provides those entrusted with the morale and welfare of our people a complete understanding all of the resources and support we have available in our community."