Pax Golden Anchor Page 2 Drill Hall renovations Page 5 Segregation to SES Page 9 VOLUME 70, NUMBER 8 NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, MARYLAND FEBRUARY 28, 2013 Dealing with ﬁnancial fallout from federal budget problems By Jim Walsh NAS Patuxent River Fleet and Family Support Center ﬁnancial counselor Not long ago, Congress reached a temporary resolution to the deﬁcit crisis and avoided toppling off a ﬁscal cliff by kicking the can down the road and putting off massive cuts, called a sequester, until March 1. Unfortunately, that date is now here and hundreds of families in this area stand to be affected if the president and Congress cannot come up with a plan for responding to the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts scheduled to take effect over the next 10 years. Right now, military members’ pay is exempt, but most government employees face furloughs that could result in losing one day of work per week, or 20 percent of their pay, for up to 22 weeks starting mid-April. For those who don’t live within a spending plan already, now is the time to develop one and put it into action. Review prior bank statements and debit and credit card records—a period of three months offers a good average—and record spending habits. People already operating within a spending plan and expecting to take a 20 percent pay cut should determine what is in their spending plan they cannot live without and look to see where cuts and adjustments can be made. While we all hope for the best, we should expect the worst. See more on this, in this week’s Chaplain’s corner on page 8. Consider these ideas for ﬁnding temporary areas in FFSC class offers furlough survival tips Courtesy photo Federal employees could see a 20 percent pay cut with impending furlough. which to close the pending reduction in salary: 1. Monthly budgets need to be ﬁrst on this list. If you’re in a relationship where ﬁnances are shared, do this together and keep the children—age appropriate— informed to the temporary changes. Make distinctions of needs from wants with every family member. 2. If you are expecting a large tax refund, is it large enough to cover the shortfall? 3. Change payroll tax exemptions to reﬂect your March 6 or 21, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Fleet and Family Support Center, building 2090 Fleet and Family Support Center is providing educational brieﬁngs for NAS Patuxent River civilians on how to deal with the possible furlough and government cuts. Many families and individuals are already feeling ﬁnancially stressed and living with uncertainty or worrying about the impact of budgetary constraints can only add to that tension. “Managing Your Finances and Stress During a Possible Furlough” offers family ﬁnancial spending plan strategies to help bridge the possible 20 percent cash ﬂow gap federal employees may experience, plus the do’s and don’ts of managing personal credit reports during transition. Also covered will be personal strategies for enhancing resilience as well as stress-management tools and techniques. The brieﬁngs are facilitated by FFSC staffers Jim Walsh, personal ﬁnancial manager, and Linda Schmid, life skills educator. Reservations are required. Linda Jim Call 301-342-4911. Schmid Walsh See Budget, Page 12 Learning robotics through STARBASE 2.0 By Donna Cipolloni Tester staff writer Each Thursday after the final class bell, the media center at Spring Ridge Middle School fills up with 24 eager blue-shirted students and their committed NAS Patuxent River mentors for an afternoon of problem solving, learning and just plain fun—all part of a Department of Defense youth program known as STARBASE 2.0. STARBASE 2.0, an extension of STARBASE-Atlantis Academy, is an after-school program that mentors atrisk youth and introduces them to activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “Our purpose is to get these kids involved in something at school that gives them a positive attitude toward school and introduces them to activities they may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience,” explained Julie Guy, director of STARBASE-Atlantis Academy at Pax River. This year’s program focuses on robotics and meets two hours after school, each week, for ten weeks. Using LEGO Mindstorm kits, the kids must first build a robot and then program it to carry out a series of five mini-challenges developed by Guy, an educator by profession. The challenges demonstrate how well the robots have been programmed to accurately perform tasks such as moving forward, stopping, pivoting, traveling a specified distance, maneuvering a maze or being sensitive to light and touch. The students, a mixture of boys and girls from grades 6 through 8, are broken into teams of three and each team works with one or two mentors who direct them, give suggestions and answer questions. “Our volunteer mentors are all Pax River engineers—some civilian, some military,” Guy said. “They encourage the students by pointing out their strengths and giving positive feedback. They push them to realize their own potential so they can nurture it in themselves and set goals to be successful in life.” Jazz Parker, also known by his STARBASE 2.0 call name, “DJ Jazzy Jazz,” initially got into the program because he “likes building LEGOs and thought it would be neat to try a robot.” Now, after just a few weeks, he has impressed himself with his accomplishments so far. “It was really hard, but I’ve learned a lot already,” he said. While Myla “Elmo” Davis ran her robot through a distance challenge on one side of the room, and other students were busily hunched over computer screens and notebooks on the other side, Myles “Terminator” Davis sat at a desk attempting to modify the wheels on his team’s robot. “The axle is bumping into the chassis, limiting the robot’s ability to turn around,” explained his mentor, Blaine Summers, project engineer with NAWCAD Special Communications Requirements Division. “He’s trying longer U.S. Navy photo by Donna Cipolloni shafts to extend the axle below the chassis to see if that will work out the problem.” Summers, like all of the program’s mentors, became involved because he wanted to share his passion and experience with the kids. “We get to teach them about engineering in a fun, collaborative environment,” he said. “They get so caught up in the excitement of the robots, they don’t realize they’re learning and practicing key problem solving and engineering principles.” Guy believes that when the students see the mentors’ enthusiasm, it helps them realize that work can be fun. “The mentors show these kids how the engineering process can be related to real world careers, how school subjects are important to what they can do in their own life, and how math See Starbase, Page 12 Spring Ridge Middle School STARBASE 2.0 student participant Jose “Dark Eagle” Martinez, lower left, cheers on his team’s robot during a performance challenge last week. STARBASE 2.0 is an after-school program offering opportunities for students to explore hands-on STEM activities.