By Ms. Jessica Marie Ryan (IMCOM Europe)March 1, 2018
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Moving to a new location can be stressful, even more so when the new location is a different country or continent. When someone sponsors an incoming service member or civilian employee, that stress can be alleviated if the sponsor is well-prepared.
That is the idea behind U.S. Army Garrison Benelux's Total Army Sponsorship Program, or TASP, Rodeo held Feb. 23 at the Community Activity Center on Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. The event was an opportunity to attendees to round up information from different garrison organizations.
"Sponsorship is more than just a task to be given to someone when a new person arrives to the garrison," said Richard Smith, human resources specialist at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux. "These events give the people who join our community useful information and identify expectations and requirements ahead of their incoming personnel's arrival."
During the event, attendees went to each organization's booth to receive information and ask questions. One attendee was Army Staff Sgt. Chris Windham, the S3 non-commissioned officer at SHAPE. Although he attended the event last year and already sponsored personnel, he hoped to get the most up-to-date information in case he sponsors more personnel in the future.
"I think the TASP Rodeo is important. There is so many people coming in [to USAG Benelux] and they don't know what they are coming into," said Windham. "Even if they are coming from another location in Europe, Belgium is totally different. It's good to have that information out there for sponsors."
In addition to getting information, attendees had the opportunity to exchange ideas with organizations' staff members to better improve sponsorship processes.
"The attendees were not the only ones learning from this event," said Smith. "The community needs a forum like this to exchange sponsorship-related information and keep the sponsorship program current. The annual Benelux Rodeo allows that exchange of ideas, and the result is a more dynamic and effective sponsorship program."
For those who could not attend the event, sponsorship resources are always available. According to Smith, the 2018 Sponsorship Guide will be available in March at the U.S. Housing Office, Central Processing Facility and Army Community Service.
"This booklet will assist in streamlining arrival and inprocessing by supplying points of contacts and an overview of policies prior to the arrival of new community members," he added.
People can also attend Sponsor Training conducted by Army Community Service. The next class will be held Mar. 14 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at SHAPE Bldg. 318. ACS can also provide unit sponsorship training. For more information, call DSN 366-6824 or +32(0)6532-6824.
"Sponsors form the lasting first impressions that make USAG Benelux what it is," Smith concluded.