MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Whether Air Force Global Strike Command and Team Minot airmen and families live on or off base, Minot can be an entirely new experience for them.
The environment can be cold, the winters are long and it's surroundings are much different than those of big cities with glamorous skyscrapers.
Nonetheless, establishing a coordinated and comprehensive approach to supporting and maintaining the well-being of military families has always been a top priority for base leadership.
With the Obama administration now pushing forward with proposals to provide military families with better support, Minot Air Force Base prides itself in maintaining its own set of initiatives that have worked toward meeting this same goal.
Master Sgt. Carisa Smith, 5th Force Support Squadron personal and family readiness noncommissioned officer, said the Airmen and Family Readiness Center is one of many organizations at Minot AFB committed to making sure the needs of service members and their families are met.
"If a family is seeking out information or help with anything, we're always a good starting point," said Smith. "We'll either provide or get them in touch with the respective resources available."
Master Sgt. Markus Nehlsen, 5th Force Support Squadron's Airmen and Family Readiness Center noncommissioned officer in charge, said supplying adequate information to newly arriving airmen and their families from the very beginning is key to ensuring base personnel become familiar with the resources available to them.
"From the start, we make sure unit sponsors receive adequate training online and that they are provided with the proper guidance on supplying quality information," said Nehlsen.
Smith pointed out the various organizations spouses and their families can join on arrival here.
"Spouses can join the Minot Enlisted Spouses Club or the Minot Officers' Spouses Club depending on their wife or husband's rank," said Smith. "These clubs are a network of spouses who come together and do different activities."
She explained they hold fundraisers, auctions, run the Airman's Attic and often contribute to the center. She added the Minot Officers' Spouses Club also offers scholarships to help provide financial aid to students.
"The various activities are generally designed to bring together spouses and help them build good relationships among one another," said Smith.
Smith also underlined the support children receive on base, mentioning the Minot Youth Center as an excellent place for kids to engage in activities on a day-to-day basis. The Youth Center at Minot AFB is recognized as the largest youth facility in the Air Force.
"The YC offers great programs for children," explained Smith. "They hold different activities each month, and sometimes take field trips to different places, which helps keep them motivated."
In addition, the youth center offers students a variety of physical activities and games to engage in, various sports programs, as well as tutoring in a wide range of subjects among other things.
Smith also explained the importance of reaching out to a child and behavioral youth family life consultant if families ever feel the need to seek advice regarding any family issue concerning their child.
"These consultants are available at the child development center and the YC," Smith explained. "They provide parents with counseling and guidance free of charge."
Smith said she understood the value in providing services to those stationed here and has constantly worked hard to provide them with support they deserve.
Whether it's offering resume workshops, educational benefit briefings, employment opportunities for family members or informing spouses of deployed servicemembers about some of the benefits they're entitled to, Smith has proven her work in advocating for families on base.
"We are constantly trying to let those on base know about the services we have to offer," said Smith. "It's truly essential people on base seek out the resources available to them and find out what Minot AFB has to offer."