AFAP conference elevates community voices


WIESBADEN, Germany – More than a dozen delegates convened through an online meeting platform Dec. 16, 17 and 18 to discuss issues submitted by community members as part of the 37th Army Family Action Plan conference.

 

AFAP is a grassroots program that was created by Army spouses with the intent of bringing quality-of-life issues to leadership for action. This year’s conference was conducted virtually for the first time.

 

Some success stories that have originated as AFAP issues include the Army Wellness Center, Voluntary Leave Bank Program, free online tutoring for military families and the federal hiring process for wounded warriors.


 

Delegates are chosen to participate in the conference and represent a cross-section of demographics from the installation to include Soldiers, spouses and civilians. At the conference the delegates are assigned to work groups and given issues to prioritize. Topics vary but include quality of life issues and entitlements. Requests that cannot be addressed locally are funneled to U.S. Army Europe and from there they are forwarded to the General Officers Steering Committee, chaired by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, for resolution. Typically a handful of issues from each garrison are forwarded to the GOSC, which reviews the issues twice a year.

 

Wiesbaden Army Community Service Director Arthur Jones thanked all the volunteers who made the event possible. “Without you, it would have never happened,” he said during the outbrief, which was recorded and posted on the Wiesbaden Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Facebook page.

 

Garrison Commander Col. Mario Washington thanked the delegates for presenting the issues clearly and assured them that all issues would be considered.

 

Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon called the conference a “powerful tool for addressing local issues.

 

“It gets things that affect people every single day onto the table so they have a voice,” he said.

 

Delegates were divided into two work groups who prioritized their top three issues that they would work on. Finally, the issues were fine-tuned so that as they move forward in the process, it is clear what is being requested.

 

The six issues presented at the conference outbrief were:

  • Revision of the Taxation of Moving Expense Reimbursement for DoD Civilians
  • Education for the Community on Virtual Options for Legal Services
  • OCONUS Permanent Change of Station Pet Entitlement
  • Honorable Discharge Option for Active Duty Primary Child Caregivers
  • Command Sponsorship for Births to Active Duty Soldiers Abroad
  • Readily Available EFMP Information for PCS

 

Follow the progress and updates on the issues at https://wiesbaden.armymwr.com/programs/army-family-action-plan