PLAYpasses offer a welcome escape
The PLAYpass offers free and discounted participation in activities and trips for those affected by deployment: single servicemembers and family members. The program was known during Year of the Air Force Family last year as the DePLAYment program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Connie Hempel)
by Connie Hempel
17th Training Wing Public Affairs
5/24/2011 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A new PLAYpass program kicks off Saturday offering deployed families and deployed-affected single servicemembers some relief with rewards and discounts at various force support services.
Formerly known as the DePLAYment program during the 2010 Year of the Air Force Family, the PLAYpass program has expanded to include single servicemembers returning from deployment too.
Whether it's a family staying behind while their loved one is away, or a servicemember trying to reintegrate with home life upon their return, the perks of the pass let them know that they are not forgotten.
"Giving them another opportunity like this says a lot," said Master Sgt. Brandon O'Neil, Airman and Family Readiness Center NCO. "Last year the people who participated were very gracious; I'm not sure if it was because of the free stuff they received or because giving them those opportunities really showed that someone was looking out for them and cares about them."
Melissa Kelly participated in last year's program and said the passes were great. In addition to sending her son to all of the Youth programs for little to nothing, and having gatherings at the bowling center, Mrs. Kelly and her family were also able to take advantage of the pool passes.
"We definitely loved them," she said.
About 200 people picked up a DePLAYment pass last year and were able to save thousands from the discounts in services and trips offered.
"Yes, these passes help out the families because it offers free stuff, but they also help out base and service agencies because they bring more people through their doors," Sergeant O'Neil said. "It's a win-win for everybody. "
A qualifying deployment is a temporary duty assignment that lasts 30 days or more, or a year-long permanent change of station in support of an active Operation documented on orders.
Eligible members can pick up their PLAYpass from the Airman and Family Readiness Center, building 145, during duty hours by bringing a Defense Department ID card that matches their sponsor's name and a copy of the sponsor's orders. Single servicemembers just need to bring in a copy of their orders upon their return home. The card is good for up to 90 days after the servicemember returns from deployment.
The PLAYpasses are the size of a credit card and are available in three categories: Family, Family Youth and Single. The Family Youth pass offers the same discounts and services for each child in the family so they don't have to share. Each card is filled with couple blocks offering discounts or access to free services and events.
The Family and Single passes have three categories:
Learn to PLAY - discounts on recreational and life and skill classes.
Recreate - discounts on swim passes and other recreational programs, events and activities
Explore - discounts on trips offered by Outdoor Recreation and Information, Tickets and Tours
While the Family pass is good for everyone in the family to enjoy as a group, the Single pass allows the servicemember to bring a friend so they're not doing activities by themselves.
The Family Youth pass offers up to 10 free hours per child at any of the Youth Programs facilities, and discounts on youth sports and classes.
The cards are not valid for food, beverages, prizes, gifts or resale. Cash refunds are not given for any unused coupon block.