CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – Friday night for service members is a time for fun, relaxation and free pancakes, which is what Friday pancake night is all about at the chapel aboard Camp Foster. The Friday pancake night at Camp Foster’s chapel is where service members can eat free food, socialize, and watch a movie while being in a safe, non-punitive environment. The ultimate goal of the program is to keep service members out of trouble. “Okinawa is a unique duty station where liberty violations not only impact the service members but also the government and political relations,” said Kristin Kantner, a prevention specialist with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Adding pancake events enable Marines to positively impact the lives of other service members who may be positioned to make poor decisions.” The Friday pancake night is part of the Alcohol Related Incident Reduction Initiative, designed to provide Marines with alternatives to drinking. “This is a great opportunity to get some free food and to communicate with other Marines,” said Cpl. Brendan Jeffords, a refrigeration and air conditioning technician with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st MAW, III MEF. “This gives them a safe environment and really helps out the base.” The program is not the first of its kind on Okinawa. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma has a similar program which sparked Camp Foster’s Friday pancake night. “The Camp Foster program was modeled after a successful program currently hosted at the MCAS Futenma USO,” said Kantner. “The Wake Up Futenma program was developed and run by Marine Air Control Group 18 and Marine Air Group 36 personnel and has experienced monumental success.” Through the ARIRI program, Camp Foster hopes to similarly decrease liberty violations by the addition of Friday pancake night. Friday pancake night also provides service members a chance to volunteer. “The ARIRI is a program in which Marines and sailors volunteer their time to ‘protect what you’ve earned’ by way of bystander intervention,” said Kantner. Service members are not just charged with looking out for themselves, they are charged with look after the brothers and sisters to their left and right. The ARIRI is a way to help them do that.
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