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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Airmen Learn More About Making Responsible Choices Relating to Alcohol Use

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 20, 2014) – Young airmen are literally putting themselves on the ropes to learn just how important it is to make responsible choices about the use of alcohol.  They are participating in special training sessions coordinated by staff at the University of Central Missouri and Whiteman Air Force Base in cooperation with William Jewell College’s Tucker Leadership Lab in Liberty.

The sessions began June 9 and are continuing through September. More than 440 military men and women are expected to complete the program over a four-month period. It is made possible through the Community Culture of Responsible Choices (CCoRC), which is a coalition charged with meeting goals and objectives of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant to reduce underage drinking, particularly among WAFB personnel.

Tucker Lab

In exercises that sometimes take them high above the ground at the Tucker Leadership Lab at William Jewell College in Liberty, airmen at Whiteman Air Force Base are involved in simulation experiences that teach them how alcohol can impair their abilities and impact on those who count on them. The University of Central Missouri is working with the base and the lab on this project.

 “In a short definition, CCoRC supports legal and low-risk consumption of alcohol. We’re not supportive of high-risk drinking or illegal use of alcohol,” said Jeff Huffman, an 11-year Air Force veteran who is serving a dual role as DOJ grant coordinator and director of Military and Veteran Services at UCM.

The CCoRC project is designed to create a comprehensive approach to reduce underage drinking among airmen, and the greater Johnson County (Missouri) community.  It includes education, enforcement, and alternative activities components as ways to implement best practices that increase the enforcement of underage drinking laws and enhance research-based prevention planning and programming for underage community members. Among many program outcomes are free server training to individuals who work in establishments that serve alcohol, and the establishment of the Wing It at Whiteman program, which has provided a host of alcohol-free activities such as movie nights and pool parties, and many other events in partnership with UCM.

Huffman said training at the Tucker Leadership Lab is one of the last large-scale activities planned in the final months of the grant, which concludes this fall after four years.

“This will help us facilitate our discussion on the responsible use of alcohol,” Huffman said. “We’re trying to teach participants about the limitations you have with impairment and how impairment can affect a group.”

The Tucker Leadership Lab provides experiential learning opportunities, most of them are team-based and require communication and support skills among the various teammates. The Odyssey Course, for example, is a high-challenge course, where teammates climb cargo nets to complete a task, and the Outlook Tower – High Challenge Course actually has team members working together on series of ropes that are suspended on polls high above the ground to accomplish an objective.

Huffman said facilitators at the Tucker Leadership Lab are tailoring training to meet the needs of the CCoRC group.  Although there will be no alcohol involved in the CCoRC exercises, sessions are being modified so that participants will get an idea of what it may be like to have a team member who is impaired due to excessive drinking.

“They will learn about what it’s like to have to take care of someone who drank too much,” Huffman said.

He noted, as members of WAFB airmen have a responsibility to be prepared for situations that require military readiness. The experiential learning opportunities they gain through the leadership lab exercises will help reinforce the need for responsible choices involving alcohol. This is important for their personal and professional lives, and those who count on them for service.

“Our goal is to get all Whiteman airmen through the class by the end of September,” Huffman said. “There are 12 more classes to be offered between now and Sept. 23, the last scheduled training date. We’ve been averaging around 25 airmen per class.”  He added that 26 sessions have been conducted to date.