By Franklin FisherApril 25, 2014
CAMP RED CLOUD -- Warrior Country leaders are replacing quarterly town hall meetings with a different format they believe will help better inform the Area I community about important local matters.
Those matters will include such timely and high-impact issues as the eventual closing of the Casey Elementary School and changes to command sponsorship and the availability of community services, said officials of the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I.
Beginning May 7 they'll hold quarterly Area I Command Information Exchange meetings, which, like the town hall meetings they replace, will also be open to those community members who choose to attend, said Ron James, director of the garrison's Plans, Analysis, and Integration Office.
But a major difference will be that the meetings will emphasize giving community members updates on such major Area I issues as the scheduled closing of the Casey Elementary School and upcoming changes to command sponsorship and the availability of garrison services.
That's a departure from the quarterly town hall meetings, which had also included updates but were mainly taken up with giving community members routine "how to" information on using key Area I services -- health care, school and housing, for example.
"It's going to be more topic-oriented and it's going to be more addressed to specific events that shape activities in the community, and less about the 'how to,'" said Col. John M. Scott, Commander, USAG Red Cloud and Area I.
"Our town halls had this 'how to' flavor, 'how to use ACS,' 'how to enroll your kids in school,' and 'how to use housing,'" he said.
But the new meetings will be more on the order of 'Here are the key events that are going to play out in Area I that are going to impact the community,'" Scott said.
Attendance will be open to the community, as it was for town hall meetings, garrison officials said.
But unit commanders -- not only the brigade commanders who typically attended town halls -- but battalion and company commanders and leaders of family readiness groups will be invited too.
"It allows us to get information to the right people, who hopefully can disseminate it down," James said.
Another major difference will be in the meeting's format. As was the case with town hall meetings, the new meetings will see Warrior Country officials briefing audiences on a wide range of important matters.
But the briefers will no longer stand at a lectern and address the audience, said James. Instead, all participants will be seated in a horseshoe arrangement, with the briefers at a head table and the rest of the audience seated around them, James said.
"It just kind of goes around the room," he said. "They talk about what they accomplished over the last quarter, what they plan to accomplish in the next quarter," James said of the briefers. "Instead of the more formal briefing style we're just sitting around the horseshoe," he said.
As at quarterly town halls, the audience -- unit commanders, FRG leaders and community members -- will have a chance to ask questions or raise matters of concern.
The same information will also be passed to the community through postings to official Facebook pages and through other media, including the command channel, James said.
The first of the new Area I Command Information Exchange meetings is scheduled for May 7 from 10:30 -- 11:45 a.m. on Camp Casey at the Community Activity Center, bldg. 2236.