Key to success: key spouses connect at 22nd Air Force summit

  • Published
  • By Meredith Kirchoff
  • 22nd Air Force Public Affairs

Key spouses from across 22nd Air Force gathered to learn, share and network at the Numbered Air Force’s first Key Spouse Leadership Summit April 2-4, 2019 at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia.

Approximately 15 spouses from 22nd AF Direct Reporting Units participated. Air Force Reserve Command Senior Spouse Janis Scobee and Jill La Fave, 22nd AF senior spouse, hosted the event.

“We want to hear about the things you want to see, what you think would make the program better,” said Scobee. “We as spouses are building the program. When changes need to be made, forums like this is where we do it... as a team.”

In the first event of its kind, spouses addressed topics ranging from existing programs like the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program to best practices in communication and continuity, and how to optimize use of the service’s new mobile application, Air Force Connect, for unit Key Spouse programs.

“This was a good chance for us to get together as a NAF, face-to-face, and all get on the same page,” said Kalee Kochansky, 910th Airlift Wing key spouse. “We’re all working on our separate programs, but here we come together and create one program that has continuity among all the bases, and also tailor it to the Reserve environment.”

The vision for the event reflected recent Air Force Reserve Command initiatives to reenergize the Key Spouse program, La Fave said.

“Our goal was to get our Key Spouse leadership together in the same room to empower each other to keep building the program,” La Fave said. “The leadership in the program is really here to direct our Airmen to resources, so when you get them together they start to learn more from each other about how to best use those resources.”

Some spouses attended as their unit’s senior spouse and key spouse mentor, while others are unit key spouses serving at the group or squadron level – all were familiar with the unique challenges of serving Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families.

“The tyranny of distance between our spouses is something that is unique to AFRC,” said Scobee. “We have to have a way to connect families to resources and information. The Key Spouse program is our link to families no matter their distance or duty status.”

Scobee briefed the Key Spouse program’s recently published strategic communication plan that aims to synchronize the voices of unit leadership with key spouses in the field.

“Success comes when the wing-level commander embraces and employs the key spouses to enhance the lives and day-to-day activities of their Airmen, and alleviate challenges and frustrations,” said La Fave. “Because people want to serve, but it’s all these other things, little things that can become big, and we have the resources to help.”

Whether they’re just starting out or refining a well-established program, our key spouses are returning to their units with a renewed sense of energy and purpose for their efforts, La Fave added.