Editor’s note: This is the second article in an ongoing series in which the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff and faculty share their perspectives and spark discussion about its lines of effort.

I gained a renewed value for a culture of acceptance this summer by joining my unit’s softball team in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Not having played much baseball in my life, I decided to play with the Air National Guard I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s “Notorious TEC” when the captain, Sergeant Smyser, told me it was just for fun and that the team was not overly serious.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rachel Lewis led off a two-hour lesson July 9 on methods of instruction during the Instructor Certification Program at the Air National Guard’s primary education center located on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee.

“Our students put in a lot of hard work,” Sergeant Lewis said. “I love seeing the progression of those with or without training experience who learn that instructing is a whole different thing.”

ALCOA, Tenn. — Airmen and their families from the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center and the Tennessee National Guard’s 134th Air Refueling Wing joined for a unit Vs. unit softball game Friday, May 17, at Springbrook Park in Alcoa, Tennessee.

“This is an opportunity to team build a bit, which does not happen enough,” U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Juan P. Castro, assigned to the education center, said.

Just before 9/11, my father asked me along on a grand canoe trip to the Boundary Waters with his Hudson-valley paddling friends. We’d drive from Schenectady in upstate New York to Ely in upstate Minnesota to spend a week exploring that maze of placid waterways in the vast wilderness area between the United States and Canada.

My dad had his one-person canoe, but his friend, Joe Nicolella, needed a tandem canoe partner.