ACS accepting submissions for conference
Have you ever wanted to change the world? Well, now is your chance to do just that — or at least your corner of the world.
Army Community Service is accepting community issues and concerns for the upcoming Army Family Action Plan conference, Oct. 18 and 19.
AFAP is a grassroots program that was created more than 30 years ago by Army spouses with the intent of bringing quality-of-life issues to leadership for action. If you think that your ideas won’t be heard; think again. Every issue brought forth is addressed, said ACS’s Mary Cheney, who is in charge of the conference here. No submissions are discarded, she said. “When issues are submitted, there has to be some kind of resolution.”
Resolution can be achieved in a variety of ways. It may mean forwarding an issue to the appropriate place, if it does not fall under the AFAP process, or it can be addressed on the spot. “Those issues that we can resolve immediately, we send through the ICE system if it can be a quick fix,” Cheney said.
At the installation level, delegates are chosen to participate in the conference and represent a cross-section of demographics from the installation to include Soldiers, spouses and civilians, Cheney said.
At the conference the delegates are assigned to diverse work groups and given issues to prioritize. Topics vary but include quality of life issues and entitlements. If an issue is not prioritized, then that must be substantiated.
Finally, issues are fine-tuned so that as it moves forward in the process, it is clear what is being requested, she said.
Two local issues that have recently been resolved through the AFAP process at the local level are the addition of crosswalks between the soccer fields on Hainerberg and the addition of a dog park, also on Hainerberg.
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.
“It’s one of the most democratic processes that the Army has,” Cheney said. “It comes from the local level.”
The Army Family Action Plan provides a mechanism for all individuals who comprise the Army’s Total Force: Soldiers (active and reserve component); retirees; Department of the Army civilians; Family members; and surviving spouses, to identify and elevate issues that impact their quality of life. Through this annual process, AFAP issues are prioritized and assigned to a lead agency for resolution and an action plan is established to achieve desired change. The AFAP process operates at three distinct levels — garrison and tenant unit, mid-level command, and Headquarters, Department of the Army. Leadership uses this information to improve living conditions and institute information and support programs that foster more informed and satisfied Army community members.
The garrison commander, leading the AFAP Steering Committee, makes the final determination on the status of all issues and recommendations arising from the conference.
Each issue should contribute to the improvement of the quality of life within the Army.
Make a difference
Get involved by submitting your issues, becoming a delegate or volunteering.
The conference will occur from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct 18, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct 19 at Army Community Service and the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center. Registration is from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Oct 18. Training for facilitators, recorders, transcribers and Issue Support Staff will be held on Oct 9 at 11 a.m. in the ACS Annex Training Room, Bldg. 7790 Texas Strasse, Apt 4.
Training for delegates will be held at 9 a.m. Oct 18 in the ACS Cafeteria. All community members are invited to the outbrief with garrison leadership at 3 p.m. Oct 19.
How to submit
Look for submission boxes at the Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic, post office, Exchange, DFAC and ACS or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.