Opening our doors: Outreach effort brings students to Clay Kaserne
July 22, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - Smiles lit up the Wiesbaden Library July 9 as librarian Ann Burski and Capt. Jennifer Glover, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment commander, read stories to visiting German and American youths.
The visit by students from Wiesbaden's Obermayr Schule marked the fourth time young people from the school visited Clay Kaserne. During previous visits youths interacted with local firefighters and law enforcement officers, aviators and crew at the airfield, and members of the Community Bank.
"The outreach effort is part of being good neighbors," said Glover, who served as tour guide and exchange organizer, "making sure we're building and finding new ways to interact with our neighboring communities.
"Part of our effort is to open our doors," said Glover, explaining that with increased security following the terrorist attacks of 9-11, fewer opportunities were available in recent years for Germans and American to join in joint events such as German-American fests. Realizing that local Department of Defense Dependents Schools already have exchange programs with local German schools, the goal was to bring students on base.
"It's about transparency -- especially since we're residing in a country that's not our own. We can at least open our doors and show our neighbors that we work just like them and are people too," she said.
Comparing the visits to military community outreach programs in the United States, Glover said she would like her Soldiers to get more involved in the local community -- "to go out and see what we can do." That might also include establishing more partnerships and visiting local schools, she said.
Glover added that participating in the program inspired her to learn German. "It's motivated me to want to learn German -- having little kids ask me about planes and not being able to understand them without a translator has inspired me to improve my language skills."