Army, Families will benefit from recent AFAP conference, discussion of issues
September 30, 2010
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- More than 54 issues were discussed and prioritized from Family Readiness Groups, ranging from parking for barracks residents, to a post kennel facility for Family pets, during the Fort Sam Houston's Army Family Action Plan Conference Sept. 21-23 at the Sam Houston Club.
At the opening ceremony, 502nd Mission Support Group/Garrison commander Col. Mary Garr said, "We know how important the AFAP is to our service members and their Families and we want to show that commitment here."
Echoing Garr's comments, Lt. Gen. Guy Swan III said, "I am just as enthusiastic about this program as Col. Garr. This program starts at the unit level through the installation level right up through the department, but does not get done without volunteers. You are volunteering your time and we greatly appreciate that."
The AFAP process allows Soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, retirees and Families to identify and forward issues to Army leadership at all levels.
Allowing input to leadership expresses the Army's desire to continually support and improve the Families' well-being and quality of life.
Beginning at the local installation level, representatives from the community are selected and they then prioritize issues submitted for review.
During the three-day conference, delegates and facilitators, recorders, transcribers and issue support persons look at submitted issues, then prioritize and discuss them. For many of this year's conference attendees and volunteers, this was their first AFAP conference.
Subject matter experts were on hand to provide delegates with information and facts on issues in order for the delegates to make recommendations.
Installation issues submitted to the lead organizations will be reported on at the Commanders' Steering committee. Issues that can be worked locally will remain at the installation.
Those requiring higher command action are forwarded to the major command level conference. If prioritized then, they are then forwarded to the Department of the Army conference.
Groups were given issues that pertained to medical/dental, community service, recycling, transportation, housing, education and training and personnel services. Each group presented the top two or three issues considered most viable.
The conference culminated with a lively report-out period and discussion by spokespeople from each of the three groups using skits and cadences. During closing remarks, each volunteer and staff member was presented with a certificate of appreciation.
Garr said in conclusion, "Well done! I really appreciate the senior leadership coming out today, because they validate what you're doing and you are able to present to them the ones that will help make these changes occur. And at some installations you don't see leadership present as well as you do at Fort Sam. They know how important this is.
"We recruit service members, but we retain Family Members. The AFAP exists to help ensure the quality of life is out there to support our service members. Our quality of life directly impacts our ability to do our missions in support of our nations' defense."
Jennifer Slack, acting AFAP program manager encouraged everyone to submit issues now for next year's conference.