FSC class provides welcome to spouses

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The classroom was filled with laughter and stories of past bases as five of Edwards newest spouses sat in a Family Support Center's classroom, Wednesday, awaiting the start of the Spouses Welcome class.

Spouses Welcome, held the first Wednesday of each month, is a class designed to familiarize new spouses with Edwards and the surrounding community.

According to Al Greer, FSC relocation manager, this class delves well beyond the information provided in sponsor packages and base flyers.

"We provide the (spouses) an in-depth look into the opportunities and services available not only on base, but in the surrounding community as well," Mr. Greer said.

More than 11 guest speakers shared practical knowledge about Edwards ranging from insects to look out for and ways to protect families from bobcats to information on education, volunteering, employment and recreation.

Following the classroom portion, the new spouses were taken on a guided tour through the surrounding communities.

"Part of the (FSC) mission is to move beyond the walls of this building," said Tech. Sgt. David Ah Sing, one of the class's guest speakers and FSC family readiness coordinator. "Maintaining a healthy mental and emotional state is extremely vital. This class is just the first step in staying connected with our Edwards family."

During the community tour, the Antelope Valley Chamber of Commerce Joint Military Affairs Committee provided lunch at a local restaurant as a thank you and welcome to the new military spouses, said Nora Moran, FSC specialist.

The class also visits key places in the community like emergency care and also takes time to add in a little fun by stopping by the Charlie Brown factory.

"We all realize that coming to Edwards can be a scary experience," said Shannon Williamson, 95th Services Division marketing team member and class speaker, as she shares an overview of services programs with the class. "Services wants to ensure that no one feels abandoned in the desert; that's why we provide a lot of fun activities."

According to Mike Wright, FSC director, there is a dynamic to the class that goes well beyond the planned portion of the class. "This class was designed to familiarize our new spouses with the local area, but more times than not, it serves as a time for them to network. The spouses return after a day on the town exchanging names and phone numbers. It almost seems as if it's an entirely new group of people."

Marina Haubelt, a family member attending the class, said she had accompanied her husband to a majority of his in-processing briefings, but decided to attend Spouses Welcome to meet new people.

"The information presented by the speakers was great, but even better than that is I am leaving a very fun day with four new friends," Ms. Haubelt said.

Edwards has a phenomenal group of professionals working daily to make history and bring our community together. This class is just another extension of that team, Sergeant Ah Sing said.

"This is a great program, and people here (at the FSC) do an awesome job," said Alessandra Soltis, a new Edwards family member. "This is probably the third time I've been off base since I got here about a month ago, so I found the information very useful. I had a great time meeting other new people. I wish I could do this every month."

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