Community survey input is helping U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden leaders shape services and programming to support its tenant units, their Soldiers and their Families.
In summer 2018, more than 400 community members responded to questions about what they believed to be the top physical, behavioral, emotional, Family, social and spiritual concerns on the installation as a part of the Community Strength and Themes Assessment.
The survey, which happens every two years, is conducted by the Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council.
“People take surveys all the time,” said Dr. John Kaiser, who oversees the survey and chairs the council, “but this one, locally you take it, and locally we utilize that to figure out what we can do based on the feedback we’ve received from the community.”
The council has three working groups which use the data to guide their initiatives.
Physical and Emotional
The top three physical concerns identified by the community were being overweight, having a poor diet and a lack of fitness. On the emotional side, stress, depression, and drug and alcohol use were the top three concerns.
Family and Social
The top three Family concerns were a work-life imbalance, a lack of employment opportunities and financial issues. Social concerns mirrored Family concerns with work-life imbalance, financial issues and unemployment showing up as the top three.
The top strengths of the installation under this category included recreational activities, diverse communities, safe neighborhoods, a clean environment and good schools.
Spiritual and Ethical concerns
The top three concerns identified under the spiritual and ethical group included a lack of morals, a lack of living the Army values and various responses to the “other” category. Another question in this area identified who respondents were most likely to turn to with their problems — a friend, a chaplain or their battle buddy.
Curbing excessive drinking
One issue Garrison Commander Col. Noah C. Cloud encouraged the council’s working groups to think about was raising awareness of drinking and driving and its consequences.
“While it certainly isn’t the only way we can improve our community, one of my top concerns is raising awareness about the negative effects of alcohol abuse,” Cloud said. “Alcohol abuse is tied to many of the problems I see in our community, and I believe it is tied to many of the concerns expressed in the survey results.”
Each of the working groups has resources in their areas to address many of the concerns. The health clinic and Army Wellness Center are available to the community to address emotional and physical concerns such as stress, diet and fitness. Army Community Service offers financial assistance with planning and emergency funds. And the Religious Support Office offers counseling, as well as numerous services for different faith groups. And, all of these organizations work together to ensure community members receive the assistance they need.
“We have resources to address all of the concerns brought up by the community,” Cloud said. “We need to ensure there is awareness of these programs and that people who do know about them, or have benefited from them, spread the word to those who don’t.
“In regard to alcohol use specifically,” Cloud said, “this has always been a challenge, and our working groups are looking at ways we can raise awareness around this issue and create a culture where community members are comfortable seeking the help they need and have activities to do that aren’t centered around alcohol.”
Survey input also reaches beyond the working groups through the installation’s other planning boards. These boards use a variety of channels to understand how best to prioritize and shape services to best serve the community. With direct input from tenant organizations or indirect input from surveys, feedback to the garrison is an essential part of how the garrison makes improvements. Our goal is to become the best garrison in the U.S. Army, Cloud said.
“As we embark on this planning process,” Cloud said, “we need to look at what our needs are, what is in line with the Army’s mission and what Installation Management Command will support. We use community member feedback to help shape this plan and our installation infrastructure and services.”