UNITE program building unit cohesion Published Aug. 3, 2023 By Mark Wyatt 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Air Force officials developed the UNITE program in 2019 to empower unit commanders to create opportunities that strengthen a bond within an organization. Since the beginning of the calendar year, according to UNITE program managers, nearly 1,000 members of Team Hanscom have participated in a unit event. “The program provides funding for leaders to help with building cohesion within their respective organizations through activity-based recreational events,” said Courtney Cann, Hanscom AFB community cohesion coordinator (C3). The program covers costs for active duty, Reserve, Guard, and appropriated and non-appropriated funded civilian employees. Additionally, the installation offers funding for Air National Guard units within a 100-mile radius of Hanscom AFB. Dependents are also eligible participants with unit leader approval. Sharon Wilt, Jennifer Salyers and Jean Etre, members of the Air Force Audit Agency, participate in a UNITE event at Kimball Farms in Westford, Mass., earlier this year. The UNITE program provides funding for leaders to hold events that build cohesion in their organizations through activity-based recreational events. (Courtesy photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res The program grants $13.50 per person assigned to a unit for the recreational activity with an additional allotment of $5 per person for food in conjunction with the event. Funding is based on UNITE event attendance, not total money available. “The funding allows commanders and directors to develop strategies to strengthen team morale and cultivate an environment that promotes collaboration and shared purpose,” said Cann. While the program's core objective remains centered around improving team dynamics, unit commanders have been given the flexibility to identify and prioritize the specific needs of their respective units. Unit leaders at Hanscom AFB have taken a creative and proactive approach to address team morale in 2023. Organizers have seen use of UNITE funds increase 152 percent in 2023, with 23 Hanscom AFB-connected units participating in 32 events at 19 separate venues, such as golf, a minor league baseball game in New Hampshire and deep sea fishing trips. The Air Force UNITE Program has yielded success stories across various units, demonstrating its significant impact on morale and operational readiness. “The UNITE program has been a great opportunity for our organization to come together, especially in a telework environment,” said Robyn MacLeod, Digital Directorate financial analyst and UNITE point of contact for Digital. “It’s been an important way for us to build unity as a team while engaging in a fun and interactive way.” Funds can be used for trips to amusement parks, water parks, movie theaters, and for disc jockeys. Leaders may also authorize a transfer of funds to other units at the same location, if unable to execute funds in 2023 by contacting Cann in writing. To utilize the funds, unit leaders should work through their designated UNITE point of contact to submit a request. All events must be pre-approved by the C3 and Air Force Services Center. Funding cannot be used for holiday parties, end of year events, balls, banquets, trainings, changes of command, retirements or promotions, or any gifts or prizes. Members of the Digital front office staff participate in a UNITE event in Wilmington, Mass., earlier this year. The UNITE program provides funding for leaders to hold events that build cohesion in their organizations through activity-based recreational events. (Courtesy photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res For additional information regarding Hanscom AFB UNITE, or to inquire about a UNITE POC, email Courtney.Cann@us.af.mil.