F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
I’m shy. I don’t really know how to introduce myself or carry on a conversation, and it tends to make interactions awkward. I know it’s my job within Public Affairs to talk to people, but it does not make it any easier. There wasn’t a course on friendship in tech school, but my mom’s words keep echoing in my head, telling me I need to go out and meet people.
Nevertheless, with my mom in the back of my mind, I put on something more casual than ABU’s and went to Higher Grounds.
I learned about Higher Grounds during the First Term Airmen’s Course many months ago, and the promise of free food captured my attention. Their flyer implied it is a place for Airmen to relax, watch television, play games and meet other people. I was in, but I was a little uncertain so I took a friend for back up.
Now let’s be real - when hearing it was in the basement of a dorm I became a little hesitant. I live in the dorms and there isn’t much down there. However, as soon as we got in the door the smell of home cooked food was wafting throughout the air. I began to think there must be a ton of people there because with food smelling that good, the whole dorm must stop by.
Just my luck, there were only about 15 people there. I don’t like crowds of people, so it provided the perfect atmosphere to ease into socializing.
Around the dinner table, everyone introduced themselves to us. I even knew a few people there from FTAC.
After dinner, the Airmen volunteers offered to make everyone coffee on the awesome espresso machine they have in there.
Once coffee and dessert were dished out, games and movies broke out throughout the space. The walls were lined with T.V.’s, game systems, and plush couches. A lot of the guys decided to start a ping pong tournament that played on throughout the evening. The winners were crowned at the end of the night with prizes such as beach chairs, gift cards, and tumbler cups.
At the end of the night, I walked out of Higher Grounds with a full belly, a wad of candy, and a desire to go back to hang out with my new friends.
I had a great time, and I didn’t even need my back up.
The experience I had at Higher Grounds made me want to go back and keep the space running for future Airmen. Since the night that I decided to listen to my mom’s echoing voice, I have returned several times. I have even joined the Higher Grounds Council to help make the space an Airman-run facility and to provide various activities.
Visiting Higher Grounds allows Airmen living in the dorms to get out and meet other people when it might not be so easy, and I am thankful the directors created an inviting atmosphere where I feel welcome and comfortable.