Pa. ANG uses unconventional method to strengthen Green Dot's prevention message

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond
  • 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
Using a smattering of sugar and a little icing, the 111th Force Support Squadron Services Flight and 111th Attack Wing Green Dot program implementers created a unique technique at the dining facility (DFAC) here to help prevent sexual assault and violence Oct. 15.

Last October, the Air Force adopted the Green Dot program to train all active duty, Reserve and National Guard Airmen in being proactive citizens by stepping in and stopping possible assaults.

According to their website, the primary mission of Green Dot is, "...the reduction of power-based personal violence...[recognizing] the inextricable link between effective prevention and effective intervention." 

And while Air National Guardsmen have been receiving official Green Dot training over the past few months, Wing leadership here wanted the Green Dot culture to extend outside the classroom. But reaching an audience that oftentimes wears the uniform only two days monthly required some unconventional thinking.

"We contacted services here and said, 'Hey, can you help out? We want something fun that'll get people thinking about Green Dot,'" said Capt. Robyn Thome, 111th ATKW executive officer and the Wing's Green Dot coordinator.  "We wanted something to serve as a reminder for our members to get the training if they haven't already, but also for members with the training to implement it."

Thome, Staff Sgt. Melissa Jones, of the 111th FSS Services Flight and Staff Sgt. Rebecca Heidrick, 111th ATKW commander's administrative assistant, cooked up an original idea in how to accomplish that mission: Use green cookies to get members thinking about their Green Dot strategies.

The idea was primarily targeted at drill-status Guardsmen, who receive certain programs and training while in military status, but may not be exposed to them in the civilian sector. So, creating something unexpected would, in theory, grab their attention or serve as a reminder.

"Green Dot is a program that should be implemented in all aspects of our lives, not just while in uniform" said Jones. "But if you want people to keep it in the back of their minds, you have to think about original ways of going about it."

The vibrant-green cookies were stationed in the DFAC alongside paper and pens. The setup allowed members to take a treat, jot down any Green Dot experiences they've had and anonymously submit it.

Thome said that she is currently working with the Wing's other Green Dot facilitators to configure interesting ways to incorporate Green Dot reminders into the regularly-scheduled drills.

In an Air Force Times article dated May 13, Col. Mark Ramsey, division chief for operations, training, and research and analysis at the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said the goal is to train all active-duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen by Dec. 31, and to reduce sexual assault by 50 percent over the next five years.

To meet Ramsey's goal, part-time service members in the Guard and Reserve, who already face challenges of maintaining training currency, may benefit from the Green Dot culture being presented and reinforced in an original approach.

With a focus on the future of the ANG, this innovative thinking is par with the Air National Guard's evolving culture and commitment to the health of the force - both in their military and civilian lives.

Green Dot, especially, is based on a foundation of culture change.

"The Air Force culture has evolved over the years...the idea is to make sure that we don't tolerate violence within the military," said Thome. "It should be incorporated in your daily life and become a way of life, and the culture change isn't going to happen unless people actually take it to heart."