CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- Camp Lemonnier provides an array of personal and professional development opportunities that can keep service members and base personnel busy.
Whether it's educational curriculums, certification courses, fitness classes, or training programs, it's available on the installation. One program that has been utilized weekly is the Public Works Self Help Program.
Self Help around Navy installations utilizes local military and civilian Navy manpower to perform minor construction, maintenance, and repair work. Supervision and technical expertise can be supplied by Seabee ratings or technically skilled military or civilian individuals from the installation public works department (PWD). At Camp Lemonnier, it's a great place for personnel to learn new skills and create small souvenirs for their peers.
According to the Leading Petty Officer of Self Help, Engineering Aid 1st Class Alexander Sanchez, the overall goal of the Camp Lemonnier Self Help is to support all 23 tenant commands on base by assisting with small and medium projects.
"We mostly focus on wood projects such as plaques, awards, souvenirs and personal items such as stands and shelves," said Sanchez. "Since I've been working here, I've seen a guy make an 80 foot plaque for his office. So it's really up to the individual what they do here, because they can really do anything they put their mind to."
There are tools and chemicals used that can be potentially harmful, therefore Self Help conducts a safety orientation for all new Camp Lemonnier personnel when they arrive onboard. The orientation is a tutorial where the members of Self Help go over the numerous tools and supplies in the shop such as the table saw, chow saw, sanders and many other pieces of equipment.
"The orientation is held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday," said Sanchez. "It only takes 15 to 20 minutes. It's basically a safety course about how to use the equipment and the importance of housekeeping. I also give the instructions on where to find the paint, what wood to use, and where to store it."
Providing great customer service is important in any organization. The Self Help team of three believe it's extremely important in this office because of the impact that the projects have on the customer's morale.
"We work really hard at giving or trying to give the customers what they ask for," said Construction Electrician 3rd Class Lizbeth Blanco, the assistant leading petty officer of Self Help. "For me, this is pretty much what having good customer service is all about. I help people out with their engravings ... I feel really good when they leave smiling."
Not only does Self Help boost morale, but it provides a friendly, relaxing environment for its patrons to enjoy as well.
"The staff is friendly, jovial and just great people who are always willing to lend a helping hand," said Douglas Belletete, a Self Help patron. "This place is great and the folks that work here are very helpful in all aspects whether it's a camp project or it's a personal project for you, your family or friends. So it's an overall great shop!"
While deployed, finding healthy ways to decompress is important. The Self Help shop can provide that level of peace since people get to turn pieces of wood into works of art; momentarily forgetting about issues that may have bothered them.
"Self Help is a great stress reliever because it helps you forget about the stresses of work or any of the stresses back home," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Starla Gary, a Self Help patron. "This is a place that I come to if I am feeling down and I want to smile and laugh and joke with people. Being here also helps me focus on being creative and use another part of my brain."
Even though Self Help has been available on Camp Lemonnier for many years, not many people know about it.
"I want everybody on base to know about Self Help," said Sanchez. "This is a really great shop and I want everyone to utilize it."
The Camp Lemonnier Self Help shop is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and closed on Sundays and Holidays.
Camp Lemonnier is one of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, installations that conducts eight lines of operation to support air operations, port operations, safety, security, housing, MWR, Fleet and Family Support and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases operating.
Camp Lemonnier's mission includes enabling joint warfighters operating forward and to reinforce the U.S. - Djibouti relationship by providing exceptional services and facilities for the tenant commands, transient U.S. assets and service members.
For more news from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, visit www.navy.mil/local/CAMPL/.
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