NEWS | June 1, 2011

FSS offers respite for single members, families from deployment challenges

By Gary Grove, 628th Force Support Squadron Marketing

Deployments and separation from loved ones is now a way of life for many service members. The military member heads off for places unknown around the world and the family stays home.

Many times those spouses and kids at the house are reluctant to go out on their own because the "leader of the pack" is missing, or they don't want to experience a new activity without the service member present.

Keeping this in mind, the Air Force Services Agency has come up with a program to motivate families to get out and enjoy what the base and local community have to offer.

The new PLAYpass Program is designed to provide deployed-affected single Airmen and Sailors, along with families of those deployed, a respite from the challenges of deployment. In continuing efforts to build a resilient force, single Airmen and Sailors returning from deployment and families of deployed members can receive special discounts from Joint Base Charleston Force Support Squadron activities to help make their deployment easier.

"This year's PLAYpass card replaces the DePLAYment program offered during the Year of the Air Force Family," said Ed Wigim, 628th Force Support Squadron Community Services flight chief.

According to Mr. Wigim, the program has been expanded to provide deployment respite support for not only deployed-affected families but also support for returning single Airmen and Sailors.

"PLAYpass offers discount cards that provide members and their eligible family members the opportunity to participate in FSS programs for free or at a reduced cost," Mr. Wigim said

Some of the programs offered for free or at a reduced fee include intro Aero Club flights, bowling passes, golf lessons, scuba and surfing classes, a whitewater rafting excursion, trips to Jacksonville and Charlotte for NFL games, along with classes at the Arts and Crafts Center.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center on JB CHS - Air Base and the Fleet and Family Support Center on JB CHS - Weapons Station are the focal points and registration centers for families to take part in the PLAYpass program. These two locations will distribute PLAYpass cards pre-printed with specific dollar value coupon blocks that can be applied to the specified programs offered at each participating location. Each card is valued in excess of $500. The program runs through Dec 2011.

To find out if you or your family members are eligible for a PLAYpass, visit www.MyAirForceLife.com. For local information, call the AFRC at 963-4406 or the FFSC at 764-7480.