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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — As a way to say “thanks,” the 35th Services Squadron is offering free child care, a wacky scavenger hunt with a $2,000 top prize and other perks and fun during its annual Customer Appreciation Week, Jan. 7-14.

The free child care applies to those already signed up at the Yoiko and Zeamer child development centers and the school-age program. Services officials said credit will be given for that week, though no refunds or cash payments will be handed out.

Squadron commander Maj. Tim Sites said this is the first time free child care has been part of Customer Appreciation Week.

The Air Force sets financial targets for child development centers, Sites said, and the centers “have been very good and efficient with purchasing and staffing, allowing us to give back to the customer.”

The free child care is part of a larger effort to reward Services patrons and to get them to try new Services activities, officials said.

“Services is a benefit to part of your military service,” Sites said. “If you don’t know about that benefit, you’re missing out.”

Pacific Air Forces Services has charged all PACAF Services squadrons to hold some type of customer appreciation event, Sites said. The dates and activities are left up to each squadron.

Misawa’s second annual scavenger hunt begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 12, lasting 24 hours. Teams of eight can register for free at the Mokuteki Community Center on Jan. 3-11. Prizes are $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second and $500 for third.

Teams try to earn the most points by finding obscure and bizarre items on base and within Misawa city limits.

This year’s list won’t be disclosed ahead of time. Last year, teams earned points for things such as a Cyndi Lauper concert ticket stub, a 2000 Holiday Barbie, a Venus fly-trap plant and an Atari game cartridge.

Other Customer Appreciation Week events include:

A kickoff party Jan. 7 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Weasels’ Den. Free mini-golf and Go-Kart rides, climbing wall passes, music, food and prizes.A free dog bath for any consecutive five-day boarding reservation at Misawa Pet Kennel.Free chair massages Jan. 10 from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. at Potter Fitness Center.A sledding party from 2 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 10 at the ski lodge.Free breakfast buffet at the Collocated Club — for club members only — from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 11.The Winterfest on Jan. 13 at Gosser Memorial Golf Course. Snowshoe races, cross-country skiing and snow clinics, a family snowman-building contest and free food. Weather permitting.Services facilities such as Overstreet Memorial Library, Arts and Crafts Center, Misawa ITT, Walmsley Bowling Center, Services Auto Center, Auto Hobby Shop and Potter Fitness Center also will be offering prizes and other free items throughout the week.

Contest encourages healthier lifestyles

The winning team still will take home a check for $2,000, but for this year’s “Biggest Loser” contest, the 35th Services Squadron is trying to put the focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not just dropping pounds for dough.

Participants must attend a nutrition clinic at the Health and Wellness Center, join at least one aerobics class geared toward exercise beginners at the Potter Fitness Center and go to a fitness center equipment orientation, according to Ellen Smith, Services marketing director.

Services Commander Maj. Tim Sites said, “We’re trying to create a new change in your lifestyle … not just help you win $2,000.”

Contest registration runs Jan. 1-15 at the Potter Fitness Center. People can compete as part of a four-person team, as an individual, or both. Percentage of weight loss will be measured.

The first official weigh-in is Jan. 18, coinciding with a “Biggest Loser” health fair at the Mokuteki Community Center from 5 to 7 p.m. The fair will feature cooking demonstrations, diet and nutrition presentations, and mandatory fitness consultations for all “Biggest Loser” participants, Smith said.

Contestants have 10 weeks to get into shape, with the last weigh-in March 31. Two mandatory weigh-ins are scheduled for Feb. 2 and March 2. Waivers to miss the interim weigh-ins will be considered for temporary duty obligations or unforeseen circumstances, officials said.

The first-place team prize is $2,000, second is $1,000, and third is $500. For individuals, first place is $500, second is $250 and third is $100.

— Jennifer H. Svan

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