By Jeremy Henderson, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 12, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- When it comes to making things better for everyone, no idea is too big or too small. And Fort Rucker Army Family Action Plan officials want to hear them all.
The AFAP Focus Groups Forum, scheduled for Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Wings Chapel, provides an opportunity for the community's collective voice to be heard and to collect ideas for streamlining processes and improving Fort Rucker's quality of life, according to Vernon Johnson, Army Volunteer Corps coordinator.
But now is the time for people to raise issues or ideas for the AFAP, Johnson said.
"It's important for the community to continually voice their concerns and opinions about their quality of life, so the senior military leadership knows what the concerns are, (and can ) prioritize critical issues (for) resolution and give updates on the progress of submitted quality of life issues," he said.
People can submit an idea or concern in several ways: AFAP issue submission boxes are posted along with submission forms throughout the installation, and people can fill out a form and place in the box at a later date; people can contact the AFAP program manager at 255-1429; and they can visit http://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/programs/army-family-action-plan/ and click the "Submit Your Quality of Life Issues" dropdown menu, Johnson said.
"Submitting concerns involves communicating with Army Community Service or going online to Army OneSource to submit issues on the AFAP page," he said. "Those issues then go through AFAP volunteers and are presented to four different focus groups of delegates at the event.
"Those groups will select the top priority issue to be worked and then spend several hours discussing the issue as a group for different solutions," he added. "The top issue for the group is briefed at an out-briefing to the command and delegates, and then presented to all of the delegates. Afterwards, these problems and solutions go to headquarters for discussion and implementation."
In addition to submitting ideas for potential discussion during the forum, individuals may also offer support through volunteerism, Johnson added.
"The process to become a volunteer is to come by the ACS office located in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 177 and ask for the AFAP program manager," he said. "People wishing to volunteer may also go online and check the volunteer information under the "Volunteer" tab on Army OneSource. In order to become a delegate for the focus groups this fall, volunteers will need to fill out an application. The application must be returned to the AFAP manager by Oct. 17.
"(People who) register for the AFAP Focus Groups Forum as a delegate, they will work the issue in one of the four different working groups," he added. "The registered delegates are the ones who present the issues in the forum. Other registered personnel in the forum are the subject matter experts from the different organizations on the installation. SMEs participate by explaining why a policy or procedure exists, and may be able to give history on an issue or give advice to a recommended solution."
According to Johnson, the conference represents the voice of the community and provides a fresh look into its members' needs.
"AFAP represents the ability of the community to speak for its members, and effect change within itself and the Army, as a whole," he said. "It allows the community to verbalize problems and produce solutions for those issues."
During last year's conference, numerous recommendations went forward to improve quality of life for Soldiers, family members, civilians and retirees. In 2012, the No. 1 issue at the Army-level AFAP conference was started at Fort Rucker.
"Significant progress has been made on the issues from last year's AFAP," Johnson said. "Programs and policies have been updated and implemented, such as a garrison pilot mentoring program for GS-8 (employees), policies are in effect to ensure fraternization is not happening between instructors and students. The SKIES facility continues to be a work in progress and will be resolved in the future. The status is updated following every Garrison Commander's Steering Committee meeting. "
According to Johnson, any issue or concern that affects the quality of life of the Fort Rucker community should be submitted.
"Issues concerning the quality of life of the Fort Rucker community, as a whole and going beyond the personal level, are issues that should be submitted to AFAP -- these are problems that should be dealt with by the community and perhaps by the Army, as a whole," he said.
Issues with a facility or particular organization should be reported directly to the commander or manager of that facility or online via http://ice.disa.mil/.
Individuals interested in volunteering should contact Johnson at 255-1429. A list of volunteer positions is listed under the Volunteer Management Information System tab via Fort Rucker>ACS>AFAP on myarmyonesource.com.