By Sarah Meyer, Freedom New Mexico
Phil Lenfant and his wife, Col. Babette Lenfant, the 27 Special Operations Wing Mission Support Group commander, moved to Cannon Air Force Base last June with their three young sons.
Last summer also brought a move to eastern New Mexico for Maj. Daniel and Brenda Dunn, who have two daughters, ages 10 and 12.
Adjusting to the new location during the summer with children at home opened their eyes to a need they’re now trying to help fill.
The two military spouses have compiled and published a list of local summer activities on base and in Clovis and Portales for children of Air Force families. They hope the lengthy list of activities will be of interest to other families in the surrounding communities, as well.
Phil Lenfant, a retired Naval officer, said the idea first emerged during a discussion among military spouses. He and his wife have eight-year-old twins and a 10-year-old boy.
The question was, “What are you doing with your kids for the summer?” Brenda Dunn said.
Over a two-month period, the two compiled a 20-page booklet that details area activities ranging from summer sports to vacation Bible school, Lenfant said.
“We thought it would be one sheet,” he said, adding that he expects it to be “a work in progress.”
“It’s so great to find out there are so many things out there,” said Dunn.
The booklet also provides a positive look at Clovis and Portales for airmen about to be deployed to Cannon Air Force Base, providing a contrast to some isolated negative publicity that has popped up recently, Lenfant said. The summer activities information also helps address some of the apprehension people have about coming to Cannon, he added.
“We’re advocating the message, ‘If you come here with a good attitude, you’ll probably find something you’ll like. If you come here with a negative attitude, it’ll be a bust,’” Lenfant said.
The father of three said he has received support from city and school officials and church leaders throughout Clovis and Portales.
He said he’s impressed with the community’s generosity, “not just in giving money, but in supporting the military interest.”
The brochure has been distributed informally through e-mail networks to places such as Hurlburt Air Force Base, with enthusiastic feedback so far, Phil Lenfant said.
“It’s clear that there’s a need for more information like this,” he said.
“It’s frustrating when you’re new,” said Dunn, explaining that when they moved to Cannon, they could not find a central place to go for the type of information they have compiled.
“I think it’s really going to be a valuable tool,” she added. “If you get your kids plugged in right away, it can go a long way toward a good tour.”
Three hundred copies of the brochure were printed this week and will be distributed on base and in the community.
More information is available by contacting Lenfant through e-mail at PLenfant@msn.com.
The full text of the summer youth activities booklet is available at Freedom New Mexico’s Cannon Connections website at: