VOLK FIELD, Wis. - Recruiters from across the nation joined together for training at Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin, April 27-May 2.
The training provided more than 600 recruiters a chance to learn the latest principles from National Guard Bureau instructors, network with each other, and gain important marketing knowledge to ensure Americans are aware of the opportunities available in the ANG.
"The training allows them to focus on the core reason they got into recruiting - to change lives and save lives," said Maj. Rondal Perry, Air National Guard advertising and marketing chief.
According to Perry, recruiter training similar to this began in the early 1970s. At that time all recruiters - approximately 200 from across the country - would meet annually. That continued until two years ago when budget cuts prevented the group from meeting.
"This week's training is a continuation of that training legacy that started years ago," Perry said.
The planning, which started last year, focused on getting the most training accomplished in the least expensive way. They concentrated on the return on investment and the return on the tax-payer investment to uncover the best solution - Volk Field Air National Guard Base.
Senior Master Sgt. Zachary Brewer, Wisconsin Joint Force Headquarters recruiting retention superintendent, helped facilitate the site visits prior to the event and sat in on several classes throughout the week.
"It's one thing to be introduced to a new topic or information via email," he said. "It's so much better to be in person, receiving hands on guidance from NGB."
Keeping everyone close was another priority.
Throughout the week the groups filled more than 15 rooms for training, used a hangar for their large meetings, and were able to stay on base in government housing.
"They are happy to be together," Brewer said. "They are social people and have an ability to reenergize each other."
By switching from presentations to hands-on workshops, and dividing the recruiters into groups of people with the same experience levels, the National Guard Bureau instructors were able to provide recruiters with necessary training in the most effective way possible.
"This is a recertification course," Perry said. "If they weren't able to come here and receive the training they need, they would no longer be certified."
Recruiters trained using books, quizzes, tests and knowledge they received from their instructors.
According to Perry, being together allowed the recruiters to get into the right mindset, so they could take the information they learned back with them to their home states.