‘Connect’ initiative prepares to offer one-stop-shop of clubs for Airmen

“Connect” is a new initiative to provide a one-stop-shop type website for Team Mildenhall Airmen looking for information on local clubs and organizations. Once clubs are established, it will provide a central location with information and point-of-contact details for Airmen, civilians and their families, offering them the opportunity to reach out to other people who share similar interests and hobbies. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

“Connect” is a new initiative to provide a one-stop-shop type website for Team Mildenhall Airmen looking for information on local clubs and organizations. Once clubs are established, it will provide a central location with information and point-of-contact details for Airmen, civilians and their families, offering them the opportunity to reach out to other people who share similar interests and hobbies. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- A new initiative, “Connect,” is being brought to RAF Mildenhall by Chief Master Sgt. Curtis Stanley, 100th Air Refueling Wing command chief, to provide an outlet for Airmen and families to get together, make friends and pursue previous or new interests.

“Connect” is scheduled to be launched in early 2018.

“This is an initiative similar to that done at a couple of other bases, providing a ‘one-stop shop’ website for Airmen to find out what clubs and organizations are available on the base and in the local area,” said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Quinton, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron electrics shop NCO in charge and “Connect” coordinator. “It’s separate from private and professional organizations; it’s not Team 5/6 or the Top 3, but groups such as carpentry/woodworking, chess, photography, home schooling, running or orienteering.”

While some clubs may be located off base, the point of contact must be a Team Mildenhall member.

“’Connect’ is all inclusive; it’s open to Airmen of all ranks, but is aimed at junior enlisted Airmen, especially those living in the dorms on base,” Quinton said. “The goal is to get them out of their comfort zone, to meet up and get to know each other, and get involved with something they enjoy or that they are missing from home.”

Regularly meeting up with others who share the same hobbies and interests can result in friendships and broaden horizons.

“We’re trying to connect people,” said Master Sgt. Michael Jackson, 321st Special Tactics Squadron first sergeant and “Connect” coordinator. “Everyone’s good at their job, but when they go home they might indulge in their hobbies, and sometimes it’s more fun to reach out to other people who share those same interests. (Connect) will allow people to create a club if there’s not one available, to maintain it, or to join a club – right now we’re starting from bare bones. Anyone can create a club that will facilitate their interest in a hobby.

“The name is perfect, because we’re connecting Airmen with other Airmen. Whether it’s officer, enlisted, civilians or spouses, they will be able to join a club without having to scour social media or the internet to find something they are interested in,” Jackson said.

An information booth will be set up at the Bob Hope Community Center on RAF Mildenhall on Dec. 5, 7:30 a.m. to noon; Dec. 7, noon to 3 p.m., and Dec. 8, 7:30 a.m. to noon for anyone interested in joining a club or organization.

A website will be put together once clubs have been formed and information is available.