During a time of increased deployments the Air Force wanted to find a way to help families stay connected. In 2011, the PLAYpass program was launched and due to the increased usage in the last year, funding has run out.
The PLAYpass program, funded by Office of Secretary of Defense, provided support to family members and single Airmen during deployments, as reintegration and reunification when the member returned home.
The way they implemented this support was by creating discount cards, the PLAYpass. The cards allowed the holder to participate in Morale Welfare and Recreation programs for free or at a significantly reduced cost.
“When the program started, it came with restrictions,” said Wendy Ozment, 355th Force Support Squadron community services flight chief. “It could only be used for support classes, programs and hourly childcare.”
With a lack of usage in the program, the Air Force took another look at it.
“This past year, the AF revamped the program and issued cards with few restrictions,” Ozment said. “The card could not be used for food, beverage, and resale.”
With the restrictions re-evaluated the card, valued at $500 for single Airmen and $1000 for families, could now be used for games of bowling, rounds of golf, outdoor recreation trips, and youth center classes, among other things.
This change made the program more appealing. The reimbursements and usage of the PLAYpass card exploded Air Force wide Ozment said.
On March 31st, Air Force officials announced the card would no longer be accepted, regardless of the expiration date.
“We’ve reached out and touched families and the single Airman, this met the intent of the PLAYpass program,” Ozment said.
Although this program will no longer be available, the 355th Force Support Squadron is still finding ways to engage the base populous and raise awareness of activities available here on D-M.