USAG Schweinfurt celebrates one year of Army Family Covenant
October 28, 2008
By Mark Heeter
SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- The Army Family Covenant, launched a little more than one year ago at installations around the world, solidified the ArmyAca,!a,,cs commitment to the importance of families as a force multiplier. And the covenant lives today.
Aca,!A"The intent of the whole covenant was for the Army to show their support for Army families, and in turn helping the troops downrange,Aca,!A? said Michael Payne, the U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt Child, Youth and School Services coordinator.
The CYSS program has been among the largest beneficiaries of the covenant, which Lt. Col. Anthony Haager, USAG Schweinfurt commander, signed here in October 2007. Elimination of registration fees, free child care, free classes and reduced rates throughout CYSS were, and have remained, hallmarks of the program. The covenant saved Army families more than $160,000 in Schweinfurt during the 2008 fiscal year.
The Army Family Covenant followed the 15:12 program and, in Schweinfurt, the Blue Star Card.
Aca,!A"That was kind of testing ground for what eventually became the AFC,Aca,!A? Payne said.
Aca,!A"Those were the highly impacted garrisons that had the high deployment rates that first implemented that,Aca,!A? said Milenie Schwarz, CYSS program and operations manager. Schweinfurt was among that first group of communities selected for the 15:12 program, the predecessor of the covenant.
The larger Army family reaps the rewards of the covenant, according to Payne.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs the Soldier that enlists. ItAca,!a,,cs the family that reenlists, because if theyAca,!a,,cre not happy, theyAca,!a,,cre the ones with the say,Aca,!A? Payne said. Aca,!A"And so we are providing the things that enable them to maintain a decent way of living.Aca,!A?
Since its implementation, the covenant has expanded to include Warrior Transition Units, not simply deployed SoldiersAca,!a,,c families, Schwarz said.
Aca,!A"I think itAca,!a,,cs how much money the government is putting into this program in support of families. ItAca,!a,,cs an incredible amount of money,Aca,!A? Schwarz said. Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre also getting extra money in support of CYSS programs, so we can enhance the already existing support we offer.Aca,!A?
Army Family Covenant money, which continues to pour into the community, and especially youth programming, has also helped pay for staff development at youth centers, according to Payne.
Aca,!A"Army family Covenant has been paying for training since its implementation,Aca,!A? he said.