JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND –
One week out from JBSA-Lackland’s 12th annual SnowFest, Katy Taylor and Angela Perez are in and out of the office all day. The two of them are community programmers for the 502nd Force Support Squadron, which is responsible for all of the events put on by the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department.
“We support the mission for the active duty soldier,” Taylor explained.
“The service members and their families go through a lot, obviously, with what comes with being involved in the military and moving and replanting yourself all the time,” Perez said. “Providing a fun opportunity to come out and immerse yourself in that community, meet people, and become part of something helps enhance that experience and give you a chance to blow off some steam when your life can be a bit stressful.”
This year, SnowFest will be a little different than previous years. FSS is adding a third snow slide and a skating rink in 2020. Beefing up the attractions solves a crucial problem that slowed down the momentum of an otherwise fun event.
“We had two slides last year and the lines for them were just very, very long,” Taylor said. “People were waiting for about 45 minutes, so we added a third to alleviate that. That's why we were pushing for another attraction. With the addition of the ice skating rink, we're hoping that all of our lines are not nearly as long so people have a much more enjoyable experience.”
The real challenge, Perez said, is making sure that everything runs smoothly with the new additions on the day of the event, especially when they’ll be operating a skating rink for the first time.
“We are, right now, thinking through the process of how we are going to get enough people onto the rink throughout the night. Are we going to use a timing system? Are we going to just tag people out?” she said. “Thinking through the logistics of how it's going to actually work and then seeing how it plays out will be the biggest challenge.”
But an event like this takes many more people than simply the two of them. Nearly 30 FSS staff members are needed to make the night a success.
“We're bringing out every single marketing staff member. It’s all hands on deck,” Perez explained. “We also need some people doing photography. We have a social media specialist that brings out a tent and she gets an assistant to help her do some stuff because she'll go live and different things.”
It’s all part of a coordinated effort to make sure the crafts, the food, and the games go off without a hitch. Only at some point in the middle of the event will Taylor and Perez get a chance to slow down and survey all of their handiwork. Other than that, if you happen to spot them, they will be bustling around setting up chairs, opening tables, bringing out the power supply, and the like.
“We love what we do,” said Taylor. “So it’s fun from start to finish.”
Taylor, Perez, and all the staff at FSS hope that military members and their families will feel the exact same way. SnowFest 2020 takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 24 at the JBSA-Lackland Amphitheater. It is completely free.