VICENZA, Italy — In the past few years the United States Army Garrison Italy held Total Army Sponsorship Program training and events designed to help prepare Soldiers, civilians, contractors and family members learn more about sponsorship resources from their garrison agencies.This program, available to active duty Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and civilian employees focuses on the sponsor, which is the key to integrating the newcomer as quickly as possible while making a good first impression.This year, in order to provide information and cover COVID-19 precautions, TASP is being offered with a different format and location, but with the same purpose of helping Soldiers become better sponsors to military personnel and their families coming to Vicenza.“PCSing to Italy is a unique experience, which requires the assistance of well-trained sponsors to set the standard for future personnel to come,” said Giulio Rigodanzo, USAG Italy installation sponsorship liaison.“During the weekly training we can have up to 15 trainees in attendance per iteration to ensure social distancing,” he said, “where each of them needs to bring his own personal protective equipment.”Rigodanzo explained further that in this uncertain period of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the training accounts for this and is constantly evolving to ensure the sponsor is a key player to assist the individual arriving here.“We cover step by step what a sponsor is supposed to do to ease the transition of a newly arrived community member,” he said after one of the weekly sessions offered on Caserma Ederle.While active duty Soldiers and Army civilians take the TASP training online prior to attending face to face training, contractors and family members can attend it without taking the online portion first.“We just ask each unit to send us an attendees’ roster to ensure we don't go over the allowed maximum capacity of participants per session due to COVID-19,” he added.The program, which will be offered until the end of September, is meant to be taken once.“The final objective is to train and equip future sponsors with all the necessary information,” said Rigodanzo. “My favorite quote about the program is: ‘pay it forward,’ which is what we are trying to achieve, a fair and smooth transition from CONUS to OCONUS for all our new community members.”Participants in the July 8 class on Caserma Ederle were positive about what they learned.“I believe the program is helpful to future sponsors because it gives them all the information needed before the Soldiers come to the base,” said Sgt. Domoniq Clowers of 386th Movement Control Transportation Detachment, who was training to be a sponsor for the first time.“I enjoyed the welcome packet and believe it will be helpful to all the future Soldiers to come,” said Clowers.Staff Sgt. Preston L. Jackson from U.S Army Africa agreed with his classmate Clowers.“The training helped me understand why we need to have sponsors and learn the different aspects of being one for a future Soldier or family,” he said.“With COVID-19 going on, it can be stressful for families and during today’s training we learned what we need to do to help others with the process,” Jackson added.According to him, TASP is one of the greatest programs the Army has invented for Soldiers, families and civilians.“Without this program, people would be lost at their duty station,” he said while recalling that he was actually contacted months before moving to Italy to let him know about the program and what to do to get ready to come here.“My sponsor reached out and told me about the different scenarios that can happen when arriving, including getting a passport, talking about barracks available, and shipping a car. He [sponsor] stayed in touch with me throughout the whole PCS. He even picked me up from the airport. If it wasn’t for this program I would be lost,” he said.For more information about the program email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call DSN 646-5138.