HEIDELBERG, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg is using social networking to reach out to its community members, who are spread out between three garrisons in Germany.

The BWnow command information program contains a variety of online photo and information sites, with the latest addition being the BWnow virtual community, which operates much like Facebook or MySpace but is solely focused on the Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg communities.

The BWnow virtual community, which can be found at http://myBWnow.ning.com, supports the Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern and Mannheim military communities with a place to read and post blogs, ask discussion questions of the community, share photos, make friends, form groups, and find out about events happening on and off post with the searchable event database.

"Living overseas can be really challenging, so this site offers an opportunity to connect with others you may not know personally but who have the same types of challenges and experiences as you," said Kelli Bland, USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg public affairs specialist and creator of the virtual community.

The site also has video capabilities, which the USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg Public Affairs Office is using to help promote the site. "The Reel Life: Heidelberg" video contest is being hosted in conjunction with the garrison's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Marketing team to encourage community members to check out the site and to get involved in the community by showing off their favorite local activities.

Whoever makes the winning video will earn himself a new Samsung NV40 digital camera. The winner will be announced at the Heidelberg Fourth of July celebration on Patrick Henry Village - and the community decides who takes home the prize.

"We thought this was a great opportunity for PAO and FMWR to team up and get the community excited about their favorite part of living overseas," said Kristen Marquez, USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg public affairs specialist in charge of the contest. "People can show pride in their community activities and services and learn about our great new virtual community at the same time."

The BWnow virtual community began in February and has more than 320 members.