Bowling for supervision, leadership w/ ‘The Huddle’

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The cracking sounds of bowling pins being violently struck and shuffled to the back of the lane are a fitting background noise as a small group of young Airmen receive drops of wisdom from several senior enlisted visitors.

One of the guests to stop by the senior NCO-led, monthly meeting, nicknamed "The Huddle," is Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, 3rd Air Force command chief. He rounds up the young group of Airmen to share his slice of advice on leading peers.

"One thing I don't want you to do with all this knowledge is keep it to yourself," he said. "I want you to share this with your friends in your dorm and at work."

The Airmen nod their heads in understanding and know that if there's one thing they will take from the huddle, it's to share the knowledge they are given by people with years of experience in the Air Force.

The Huddle is a developmental program geared toward building rapport and providing a mentorship network for Airmen and NCOs. Its concept starts in the First Term Airmen Center and is revisited through informal gatherings designed to mature and expand established relationships as well as promote personal and professional growth.

According to Master Sgt. Terrance Ladd, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operations section chief, the Huddle gives Airmen the opportunity to learn and spend time with senior NCOs in an environment more comfortable to them.

"The Huddle [favors fostering] communication outside the normal work environments and offices to a more relaxed setting that would hopefully promote honest [feedback] from both the mentors and Airmen," said Ladd.

Attendees are invited to enjoy themselves while interacting with the senior NCOs that host the events. According to Airman Annabell Ryan, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels apprentice, this wasn't difficult.

"I had a blast bowling with the senior NCOs," said Ryan. "I'd like to see more people show up for the huddle because it gives us Airmen more time to interact with them."

Master Sgt. Dejon Franklin, U.S. Air Forces in Europe command fuels equipment manager, believes that the fun and enjoyment is also a reminder that supervisors care.

"It helps in the development of the Airmen because it shows that senior NCOs have time for them," said Franklin. "When I was a younger Airman, I remember feeling just the opposite. I feel Airmen learn best by the example from consistent and transparent leaders."

Whether there are bowling pins cracking in the background or basketballs pinging off the backboard, the environments are varied and aren't the normal location someone would hold a meeting.

However, with the goal of building relationships and mentorship networks, the Huddle provides the opportunity of developing oneself in an informal setting, and is only beneficial to all involved.

For anyone interested in getting involved or has questions about the Huddle, one can attend these meetings on the last Thursday of every month. If there are any questions, please contact Senior Master Sgt. Dan Kenemore or Senior Master Sgt. Demarcus Tate.