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New to Peterson? A sponsor can help

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A change of duty station can be stressful, but with the assistance of a unit sponsor, military members have the advantage of knowing where places are located and how to get in contact with helping resources.

Sponsors play a large role in helping Airmen make a smooth transition to their new duty station. A good sponsor is prepared, has the right training and knows what is required of him or her.

"A sponsor has about five days to contact the new incoming member and provide them with contact information," said Christina Fornander, 21st Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness relocation lead. "The sponsor welcomes the newcomer to the unit and Peterson and asks 'how can I be of assistance.'"

Acting as a representative of the unit, sponsors are required to complete training provided at the Electronic Sponsorship Application and Training website. There, they will find checklists, helpful resources and basic tips on how to prepare for the newcomer's arrival.

Recognizing the importance of successful sponsorship, the Department of Defense created eSAT to standardize sponsorship training regardless of service branch. The training is important and gets sponsors thinking about what basic information they need to gather before the newcomer arrives to the base.

"We can probably think it through ourselves, but the training is designed to make sure that we have thought of everything," she said.

Is it just the Airman, or is the Airman married? Does the Airman have children? Pets? These are some of the items highlighted in the training, and are questions the sponsor needs answered in order to provide the best sponsorship possible, said Fornander.

Paving the way for the Airman's arrival is one of the primary responsibilities of the sponsor.

Once the sponsor knows the itinerary - how the Airman is getting here, if he or she is flying or driving and how to contact that inbound member - the sponsor will meet the Airman at a designated location and take the Airman to billeting.

Knowing where to get information is just as important as knowing it. Every PCS move is different. Some are simple, while others require extra attention and more unique information.

"Sponsors can come here and get maps, phonebooks, welcome guides for the city among other things. For spouses, the biggest thing we are hearing these days is, 'I had to quit my job; I need to get a new job and I need to start now. How do I do that?' We have resources that sponsors can come in and pick up, and send in advance," she said.

The conclusion of sponsorship duties has no set time limit, but is rather a tapering off of assistance as they become more acclimated to the base, unit and coworkers.

Fornander said it typically takes 30 days for the member to find their place. "By then, they have found their place, inprocessed and are feeling pretty good about where things are at," she said.

eSAT is mandatory for all sponsors and is the responsibility of the command to ensure that the training has been completed. Service members can access the eSAT website using their common access card. The application is secure and provides a certificate for unit records.

To access eSAT online, go to http://apps.militaryonesource.mil/esat.

To learn more about the resources available at the Peterson A&FRC, go to http://www.21fss.com/about/airman-family-readiness/.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui