By Rick Emert, Fort Carson MountaineerJune 18, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- An Army Community Service program exclusive to Fort Carson gives members of the surrounding community a better understanding of military life.
Army 101, from ACS' Family Enrichment Program, is a course that teaches community partners everything from Army acronyms and rank structure to effects of deployments on Families and combat stress, said Nancy Montville, Family Enrichment Program manager and one of the creators of the course.
The program, which began in January 2008, earned the Army Communities of Excellence Exemplary Practice award May 4. The $75,000 award, presented by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander, Installation Management Command, will be used for Fort Carson garrison programs, Montville said.
The program's success can be attributed to its simplicity, Montville said.
"One of the reasons why we won this award, and one of the good things about it, is that it's a very simple, easily exportable program," she said. "It's almost no cost, other than the bus that we pay for (to bring community members on post), because we already have the curriculum from our Army Family Team Building Program, it's a partnership with our experts on post.
"It's a keep-it-simple sort of program, but you are impacting and touching a lot of people. I like the idea that there are more people learning about our culture, and that they can help our Soldiers and Family members more easily."
ACS began the course based on input from the local community, Montville said.
"It was in response to a need that our downtown partners identified from meetings that many of our leaders went to ... as our installation was growing," she said. "More and more of our Soldiers and Family members were seeking treatment, housing or other services off post. They (community partners) ... needed to know more about the military, because many of those people don't have experience with the military."
The program involves bringing in members of the local community to learn all aspects of Army life. It is often geared toward specific groups, including the first course that was taught to local firefighters and other courses for District 8 educators and law enforcement personnel, she said.
The program recently has been tailored to on-post organizations such as Balfour Beatty Communities LLC and Army auditors, Montville said.
Those who have taken the course have provided positive feedback, Montville said.
"We get really good feedback. That's one of the things that really keeps us excited about it," she said. "Most of them say it should be a whole day. We get really positive comments; people really like to come. No one is forcing them to come; they are coming because they want to."