ANGRC chiefs take it ‘Back to the Basics’
By Staff Sgt. Morgan R. Lipinski, Air National Guard Readiness Center
/ Published October 17, 2019
KINGSWOOD, W.Va. -- More than 30 chief master sergeants, assigned to the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Maryland, traveled to Camp Dawson, West Virginia, for a two-day, team-building event Sept. 13-15, 2019.
The weekend event, titled “Back to the Basics,” was hosted by Command Chief Master Sgt. Nikese Swift, the command chief master sergeant for the ANGRC.
“The intent of Back to the Basics was to take time aside to invest in our chief corps,” said Swift. “We do a lot to invest in our Airmen, but sometimes forget that our senior leaders are people too. The more we equip our leaders with the right tools and resources the better our Airmen will be taken care of and the better we, as an entire ANGRC team, can serve the field.”
The Back to the Basics curriculum focused on self-care, improving communication, overcoming workplace obstacles and building senior leader relationships.
“The ANGRC is a high-tempo work environment that focuses on supporting the 90 wings of the Air National Guard and their missions,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Warren, the human resources chief of data integration at the ANGRC. “We don’t always have time to meet other chiefs on staff, so this off-site gave us the chance to have time away from the office, really connect with our peers, and grow our network.”
Along with classroom seminars, Back to the Basics also challenged the chiefs with a Leadership Reaction Course that tested their strength, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. Through sand and sweat, the chiefs worked together to accomplish the demanding LRC obstacles within an allotted timeframe.
“It’s not every day that a group of chiefs go through a course like that; it was no joke!” said Warren.
Though challenging, the LRC was included in the off-site to foster collaboration toward a united goal.
“It was important to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones in order for us to grow as individuals, as a team and, most importantly, as leaders,” said Swift.
Back to the Basics also incorporated an important aspect of the ANG’s Whole Airman Concept: community involvement. On the final evening of the off-site, the chiefs volunteered their time to mentor cadets from the West Virginia National Guard Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy, an academic program for at-risk youths based at Camp Dawson.
“The MCA was happy to have the chiefs here to talk with our 157 cadets,” said Mr. Adam Wharton, the assistant commandant of cadets at MCA. “Their mentorship will support what we are trying to do here, which is prepare our cadets for a successful life ahead.”
“It was very worthwhile to meet with the MCA cadets, answer their questions about the Air National Guard and share our life experiences with them,” said Warren. “Many of the cadets were interested in joining the Air National Guard. Hopefully our discussion motivated the cadets to follow through with enlisting and become the next generation of Airmen.”
As the weekend came to an end, several chiefs reported feeling that stronger bonds were formed amongst the ANGRC chief cadre.
“We are leaving Back to the Basics as a more cohesive team,” said Swift. “We are stronger now than we were before, and we are ready to continue serving the Airmen of the ANGRC and entire Air National Guard.”