Volunteering with Habitat strengthens team Published Dec. 2, 2011 By Master Sgt. Aaron Rutland Superintendent, 45th Contracting Squadron PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A Senior Non-commissioned Officer's (SNCO) primary purpose is to lead and manage teams to accomplish the mission. In order to lead and manage a team you must first build a team. That team must have a common goal, a steady focus and the ability to work together. As a Superintendent and SNCO I look for opportunities to demonstrate the importance of communication and cooperation because I feel that these are necessary characteristics of a successful team. My research led me to Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County, and in this organization I found the perfect partner for developing teams. Habitat builds houses in partnership with very low-income families. The houses are sold with no-interest loans and without profit. Habitat holds the mortgage and recycles the principle payments to fund future houses. Construction expenses are kept to a minimum by utilizing volunteer labor. There are no volunteer requirements as far as skills or abilities, only a willingness to listen and a desire to help. In return, Habitat for Humanity provides the opportunity to make a difference. The volunteer coordinator with Habitat was wonderful to work with. She provided project choices for our group and was very flexible on times and dates. With her help, we chose an ongoing build in Melbourne and committed to an August weekend. Upon arrival, we were met by the site manager, who is tasked with coordinating the volunteers as well as instructing them on the job to which they are assigned. With his help, our group of 12 people painted the exterior of the home, hung soffits, and installed ceramic tile. It was fulfilling to step back at the end of each day and see the difference we had made in the home that would be enjoyed by a family in the near future. The work was not terribly difficult, but the reward was great. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County was the perfect team building opportunity for our unit. There were no limitations on who could help, all tools were provided and we were even given lunch on both days by local churches. Our team made a difference in our community. The group added depth to their interpersonal relationships. We shared the experience of volunteering in the community, helping to build a home for a family we did not know, and in the end, we became a stronger team. Henry Ford said "coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success." Volunteering as a group in the community is a great way to strengthen your teams and ensure you are truly working together to accomplish the mission.