Rising Six President raises recognition, morale, and money for enlisted troops
By By Staff Sgt. Nicole Wright, 146th Airlift Wing
/ Published January 10, 2020
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Port Hueneme, Calif. – --
On a particularly cold morning (at least for California standards) and in the span of a few hours on the second day of a regularly scheduled drill, U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Jenifer Bibee is raising money for the wing’s first local Airman of the Year Banquet as she plunges into a giant dunk tank filled with freezing water. Strategically placed in front of the dining facility on base, onlooking airmen witness the ear-to-ear grinning Bibee getting dunked for a good cause.
Bibee, the NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) for Airfield Management for the 115th Operations Support Squadron, is also the current sitting President of the 146 AW’s Rising 6 council, a group that provides professional development opportunities, mentoring and mentorship and camaraderie for enlisted junior airmen and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO’s) on base.
You could say that Bibee is pretty busy on any given day around the 146 AW. So much so that you’d actually be lucky if to catch her standing behind her computer in her office before she was gone again. Standing being the emphasized word, since sitting implies time to do so… which like most days, Bibee does not.
But if you were lucky to find her in her office, you’d notice a vast array of colorful sticky notes covering her bulletin board, a full schedule of events, planning operations and various to-do-lists. With a constantly filled bulletin board, every day each task quickly is replaced with another’s completion.
But busy doesn’t stop Bibee.
After finishing her splash inside the dunk tank, Bibee’s $100 donation plunge officially raises the total of combined donations now to $1,200. She’s excited since the money is going towards the wing’s banquet, which recognizes the wing’s outstanding enlisted workforce.
A byproduct of the Rising 6 council, the idea of holding a banquet was formed after the Rising 6 polled local 146 AW airmen who said they would like to see more recognition programs on base. With the airmen’s considerations in mind, the Rising 6 began working on brainstorming ways to fund and produce the event.
According to Bibee, organizing and planning how they we’re going to put on the banquet wasn’t exactly an easy process. The next step for Bibee and the Rising 6 would be getting approval from wing leadership, which Bibee says felt relieved and good about.
“Getting leadership's approval to get the banquet off the ground gives me hope for the future. It was really great to get their support and If we can get the commanders and the chiefs to keep promoting the Rising Six, I think morale will increase when airmen see how invested leadership is,” said Bibee.
Helping raise morale is one of Bibee’s major area of focus and the banquet is just the beginning of what’s to come in the Rising 6’s challenge to increase morale. With the banquet underway, a motivated Bibee is now setting her sights on other programs for 146 AW airmen. Programs with a focus on development for airmen in contrast to how she feels the Rising 6 had been utilized in the past.
“Well, we’re tired of being used as just manpower,” said a laughing Bibee.
“Airmen are looking for more ways to be mentored, helped and developed, and as the Rising 6 Council changes we are going to work hard to continue finding ways to do that,” said Bibee.
With new elections being held most likely in June of 2020, Bibee is hoping the momentum for building morale keeps rolling with the future elected Rising 6 Council. Ironing out the details of the mentorship programs, Bibee and the council have addressed potential issues facing the council. One of those issues includes how long executive staff like will hold terms.
Bibee and the Rising 6 council are looking to effectively mitigate any possible “burn-out” or fatigue factors for future elected members. It’s a factor Bibee and many airmen have felt before due to the nature of the position.
“Sometimes it feels like I’m doing the Rising Six more than I’m doing my actual job, so it’s definitely a struggle to keep a healthy balance. I think two years is going to burn out the next president, plus you want to encourage the airmen to step up. Making it one-year terms is less-intimidating, I think,” explains Bibee.
With the Rising 6 being comprised from a completely volunteer force, Bibee like others from the council still have to make time to accomplish the needs of the council. It’s a process Bibee says can take a lot of her time.
“Being the President is a full-time job in itself, even though it’s all on a volunteer basis. I’m a technician Monday through Friday, so anything I do for the Rising Six I have had to have to take leave for to get it done,” said Bibee.
With the wing’s very first banquet funded and set to go, Bibee has accomplished much within less than a year since being elected in February 2018. With the elections still months away, Bibee is still keeping her focus on what needs to still be done with the time she has left and doesn’t plan on slowing down improving what she can with the Rising Six anytime soon.
“The Rising Six is based on helping airmen develop into better supervisors, we are going to make airmen better supervisors than we are, so they can do it repeat the process for their airmen,” said Bibee.