KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz leaders are changing the format for the annual Total Army Sponsorship Program Rodeo due to the massive Defender-Europe 20 exercise.
In the past, the TASP Rodeo, which started in 2013, has been held at Armstrong' Club with about 14 different agencies manning booths that provide information to unit leaders on what the garrison offers in the way of sponsorship training and support.
This year, because many area Soldiers will be participating in Defender-Europe 20, organizers are conducting the TASP Rodeo online through DCS Connect, an online, secure website.
"We know there will be a lot of units taking part in the exercise during the time we usually have the rodeo," said Ivor Watson, USAG RP Military Personnel Division chief. "We'll be the first garrison doing it virtually, so we're looking forward to it."
Watson said the new way of doing things, even two months ahead of the planned date, is not without challenges and rewards.
"The technical piece of setting up the video teleconference and the DCS session is the main challenge. We've never done that before. And, making sure we can get unit leaders to participate because of the exercise," he said. "On the other hand, we're saving money by doing this in the virtual world."
Debbie Galimore, USAG RP sponsorship coordinator, said having a command team behind the sponsorship program and having a good sponsor, is vital to a newcomer.
"The sponsor can make, or break, your whole assignment in Germany," Galimore said. "Sponsor training is really required in Rheinland-Pfalz because of the distance our sites are from each other. Not having a good sponsor can change a Soldier or civilian's whole atmosphere and morale from the very beginning. That's why we want command teams to buy into the TASP Rodeo."
The virtual format also allows for a change in date should the response be less than hoped for because of Defender-Europe 2020, according to Watson.
The 2020 TASP Rodeo is currently slated for March 26.