Summer slam: All hands on deck to prepare

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The U.S. Air Force band, Wild Blue Country, performs at the annual Summer Slam Base Picnic at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, July 21, 2017. Airmen are encouraged to spend time with their friends and families and enjoy all the activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

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Team Schriever family members climb a rock wall at the annual Summer Slam Base Picnic at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, July 21, 2017. The 50th Force Support Squadron hopes for increased attendance this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

To celebrate more than 300 days of sunshine and summer weather, the 50th Force Support Squadron, along with various base agencies, will host the annual Summer Slam Base Picnic at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado July 20.

Last year, the picnic had an estimated 3,000 attendees, despite the ninety degree weather.

“This is very Schriever specific,” said Master Sgt. Janelle Amador, career assistance advisor with the 50th FSS. “I’ve never seen another base do something like this.”

Amador shadowed the lead of the picnic last year, and was in charge of volunteers.

This year, she has taken on the task of organizing the entire event.

“I started preparing in August 2017,” she said. “It all starts with the U.S. Air Force Academy band, Wild Blue Country. They’re a very sought after commodity.”

Amador explained the date of the picnic also revolves around the annual Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, Colorado because they supply the elephants and camels.

Additionally, the festival will bring actors, jugglers and acrobats, who are new to the picnic this year.

The picnic will also feature face painters, three caricature artists, pony rides, bounce houses, a climbing wall and inflatable obstacle course.

In addition to the traditional fire muster, 50th Security Forces Squadron will present a defender display, which is a defense class where members will suit up and take punches, demonstrating defense techniques and tactics.

Free lunch will be provided, consisting of hot dogs, sweet Italian sausage, bratwurst, chips, drinks and ice cream sandwiches.

“I’m hoping people will enjoy themselves, relax with their families, and enjoy good food, music and festivities,” Amador said.

Base agencies assisting in the picnic include the 50th Logistics Readiness Flight, Schriever AFB fire department, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron, fitness center staff, outdoor recreation, the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the 50th SFS.

“We’ve been having meetings since May,” Amador said. “The base has been amazing. This is a joint endeavor, without everyone, we can’t put this on.”

Seth Cannello, fitness center director with the 50th FSS, explained because most organizations are undermanned, they are all under a lot of pressure and stress.

“It's critical the entire community put work aside for a couple of hours and enjoy the picnic with their family, workmates and other community members,” he said. “There's no better way to come together than the Summer Slam picnic and I'm looking forward to seeing another huge turnout.”

Amador hopes Team Schriever will take advantage of this event, and see it as a break.

“I want the base to like it and talk about it,” she said. “I want them to say it was a really great picnic.”

“The picnic is good for morale,” she continued. “We’re always working, staying late, coming in early, so for the base to put on something like this is amazing. It’s amazing we care this much about our people that we put thousands of dollars into an event. It’s not for a pat on the back, it’s for their enjoyment and happiness, morale and welfare.”

Cannello added Schriever AFB is a community, not just a place to work. 

“Not to mention, happy employees make better employees,” he laughed.

If anything, Amador encourages Airmen to enjoy all the hard work from the organizations.

“Take advantage of this opportunity,” Amador stressed. “These are lifelong memories. They’re going to remember that camel ride, and they’re going to have that caricature. Just do it and make those memories with your family.”

There are currently more than 100 volunteers needed to assist with the picnic, including set up, tear down and food serving.

“Without volunteers, there is no base picnic,” Amador said.

To volunteer, contact Andrea Hernandez at 567-3920. For more information about the picnic, contact Amador at 567-5927.