By Ms. Shayna E Brouker (IMCOM)February 11, 2014
WIESBADEN, Germany - Hessen Area "Americans Working Around the Globe," or AWAG volunteers, gathered at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center Jan. 28 for their annual conference focused on developing the "total volunteer."
The theme of this year's conference was "Mapping to a Successful You -- through Strength, Leadership, Mentoring and Job Skills." Approximately 50 volunteers in the Wiesbaden community heard from speakers on a wide range of topics from "Navigating your Volunteer Life" to "Staying Healthy, Slim and Sassy in 2014."
Pamela Shackleford, web technology chair on the AWAG board of governors, science teacher and self-described "way-too-busy techie" taught a seminar called "Apps for Life." She reviewed apps that ease everyday life, such as iPassword, a tool that securely stores passwords offline, and Skitch, which facilitates sharing edited documents and photos.
"We're a blessed community to have such a wealth of trained and accomplished individuals," said Dianne Longo, Hessen area AWAG representative and Wiesbaden Community Spouses Club volunteer who organized this year's conference. "Their willingness to donate their time is unbelievable."
AWAG is a nonprofit, private organization. A volunteer board of governors administers AWAG, which represents all branches of the armed forces and civilians serving within the European community.
The mission of AWAG is to train, strengthen and connect volunteers, their organizations and their communities.
"It's invigorating," said Karen Russ, AWAG president. "The speakers are dynamic and relevant. The delegates leave refreshed and ready to take on greater leadership roles."
Jennifer Cain, Family Readiness Group leader for 5th Signal Command's Headquarters and Headquarters Company and a former Soldier with 15 year's service, attended to gain insight into her new role and develop herself as a leader.
"I liked all the seminars," she said. "'Navigating your Volunteer Life' showed me which traits fit best, and the resume and job session gave lots of great information."
AWAG started in 1946 when Margaret Biddell, wife of the commanding general of the U.S. Army of Occupation, formed a board of eight women to organize the delivery of relief aid sent by stateside clubs and church groups to post-war Germany.
"Although times and fashions have changed, the delegate from over 50 years ago would find a kindred spirit in today's conference participant," said Longo.
Volunteers in the community are invited to participate in AWAG conferences. The 58th Annual Training and Leadership Seminar will be held May 4-8 at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany. For more information, visit www.awagonline.org/default.html.