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NEWS | Jan. 28, 2014

Organizations provide networking; professional development for Service members

By Senior Airman Teresa Aber 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In today's Armed Forces, senior leaders encourage Service members to find ways to become well-rounded, balanced individuals in their careers and personal lives through professional development organizations.

Professional development organizations are a way for enlisted Soldiers and Airmen at Joint Base Langley-Eustis to network with fellow Service members while focusing on professional and leadership development.

Many organizations are geared toward building morale and networking opportunities for specific groups, such as the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers organization at Ft. Eustis. BOSS supports the overall quality of life of single Soldiers, Service members who may have a deployed spouse and single parents

"BOSS provides low-cost trips and get-togethers for Soldiers, and is about young men and women getting together and coming up with solutions to difficult problems, then forwarding them through the chain of command," said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Jose Velazquez, Army Training and Doctrine Command Public Affairs.

Some organizations focus on specific rank tiers, such as Airmen Committed to Excellence. ACE provides an opportunity for Airmen to network and create friendships with fellow airmen in different career fields along with improving the quality of life for all assigned personnel, in order to encourage an attitude of unified purpose.

The Langley Club 5/6 is geared to junior noncommissioned officers, allowing them to concentrate on issues that may be more important to them, such as education and volunteer opportunities. It also allows the members to receive mentorship from senior NCOs and to mentor junior enlisted Airmen.

"Club 5/6 gives staff sergeants and technical sergeants a different outlook on the military by giving us unique opportunities to learn from senior NCOs," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ramar Sykes, 439th Supply Chain Operations Squadron Grounds Micap Support section supervisor. "It also gives us the chance to mentor junior enlisted Airmen and aid in the growth of the future generations of the military."

Senior enlisted leaders can become involved in organizations such as the Eustis Sergeant Major Association, Langley Top Three and the Chief's Group, which allow members to focus on topics relevant to their rank tier, such as mentoring junior enlisted members and continuing education information.

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Koenig, 633rd Air Base Wing Protocol superintendent, is a member of Langley Top Three, the Air Force Sergeants Association, and an advisor to Airmen Committed to Excellence.

"These organizations are a great way for Airmen to get information and develop professionally among their peers while setting a good example of leadership," said Koenig. "The senior leadership organizations always look for opportunities to mentor junior enlisted Airmen."

All of the organizations have primary goals to foster morale and camaraderie among their members, while developing their members professionally by giving them the chance to organize volunteer opportunities.

"These groups provide volunteer opportunities unique to their members," said Senior Airman Major Powell, 633rd Communication Squadron client systems technician and ACE vice president. "These opportunities teach us that it is not just about us, it is about giving back to the local community as well. I think the best way to find yourself is through the service and betterment of others."

While each organization has educational and professional development opportunities unique to their members, they all find common ground when it comes to teaching Soldiers and Airmen the importance of being well-rounded, balanced individuals who make their job duties, education, leadership and giving back to be priorities in their day-to-day lives.

Service members interested in joining any professional development organization should contact their supervisor or first sergeant for more information.