|WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Defense Department has launched
an online sponsor training and resource tool intended to boost the
quality of the decades-old sponsor program and better assist relocating
servicemembers and their Families, a defense official said.
sponsorship training sessions
|Sponsorship training for
authorized members of the Fort McCoy community will be held Feb.
8, May 3, Aug. 9 and Nov. 8 in 2011, said Ann Wermer. The
sponsorship program is open to military and federal civilian
personnel who are undergoing a permanent change of station move.
Wermer, Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Relocation
Readiness manager, said the training is held from 10-11 a.m. at
ACS, 2111 South 8th Ave.
Sponsorship is a commander’s program that assists Soldiers,
civilian employees and Families during the reassignment process;
assists Families geographically separated from the sponsor
during deployment; and improves unit or organizational cohesion
Topics presented during the training include regulations and
forms, program entitlements, types of sponsorship, sponsor
responsibilities, commander responsibilities, and e-Sponsorship.
For more information or to register, contact ACS at
608-388-3505. Registration is requested no later than one week
prior to training.
Units may schedule unit sponsorship training by completing the
Training Request Form six weeks in advance.
Forms are available online at the website
under Soldier/Family Programs, Army Community Service, ACS
The sponsor program connects incoming servicemembers with a trained
sponsor, typically a servicemember of similar rank and job position, at
the gaining installation.
Sponsors operate as the unit’s “welcome wagon,” assisting Families with
everything from lodging and schools to spouse employment opportunities
and housing, explained Barbara Thompson, director of the Pentagon’s
office of Family policy/children and youth.
Previously, the sponsor program was “hit or miss” across the services,
Thompson noted. The mandatory program is run, not at the service or base
level, but the unit level, she said, and as a result, the quality of
training and program management varied significantly.
Now, through the e-Sponsorship Application and Training site, or e-SAT,
leaders can ensure all sponsors are uniformly trained and equipped to
provide top-notch assistance to Families, she said.
The site offers sponsors a one-stop-shop resource for information,
including training, links to relocation resources and an e-mail function
designed to facilitate communication between sponsors and incoming
“It’s a fact of life that over a military lifecycle, a Family will move
every two to three years,” Thompson said. “That’s a lot of upheaval. Our
Families need support to make sure each move goes smoothly.”
A spouse, for instance, who is looking for an area dry cleaner or
handyman, can go online and ask the sponsor for recommendations.
“It’s always helpful to be connected to someone who knows the area,”
The sponsor, she said, also can create a quick connection between the
Family and their relocation manager, who supports the relocation process
and adds another layer of support.
To ensure the program runs smoothly, the application allows unit leaders
to review the information flow between sponsor and newcomer, and to
intervene if necessary, Thompson said.
“We tried to produce something that will be very helpful to our Families
and sponsors,” she said. “Before, there may have been training, but we
didn’t know what that training included or whether it was effective.
Now, there’s a learning objective and the information that sponsors need
to better support the individual needs of Families.”
Families who haven’t been assigned a sponsor can request one online by
visiting Military Installations at
http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil or Plan My Move at
The application is part of a series of new online resources the
department has created to improve the relocation experiences of
servicemembers and their Families, Thompson said.
Next up, department officials are looking at launching a similar
application for military children on the move, she added.