Community Information Exchange at Camp Zama offers updates, promotes open discussion
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Attendees listen to a presenter during the Community Information Exchange held Jan. 23 at the Camp Zama Community Club. The event was meant to be a venue in which they could ask questions and offer feedback in addition to the information being provided. (Photo Credit: Dustin Perry, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
Community Information Exchange at Camp Zama offers updates, promotes open discussion
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Attendees at the Community Information Exchange held Jan. 23 at the Camp Zama Community Club browse tables at which various organizations had information and resources available. (Photo Credit: Dustin Perry, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Installation leadership and organization representatives here offered a host of updates and details on upcoming events and services during a Community Information Exchange Jan. 23 that promoted and encouraged two-way discussion.

Led by the commanders of U.S. Army Japan and U.S. Army Garrison Japan, the CIE, hosted at the Camp Zama Community Club, was meant to be a venue in which attendees could ask questions and offer feedback in addition to the information being provided.

“I’ve been here about seven months … and the truth is, there is something going on here literally every weekend, either on base here or at [the Sagamihara Family Housing Area] or Sagami Depot, or off base,” said Col. Marcus Hunter, USAG Japan commander. “Our goal is getting that word out, and this CIE is a consolidated effort to do just that.”

To encourage attendees to provide feedback, CIE organizers modified the event’s format to be a hybrid of various presenters giving updates on their respective organizations and a “fireside chat”-type open discussion in which the audience could ask questions and provide suggestions.

Randy Benton, the special events coordinator for the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, began by offering updates on upcoming events, including an Armed Forces Entertainment-sponsored stand-up comedy show in February.

This prompted a question from the audience about how certain acts are chosen to come to Camp Zama to perform. AFE decides in March the slate of musical acts and variety acts they will book throughout the coming fiscal year. If the opportunity is there to have those acts come to Camp Zama, Benton will take it, he said.

“With us being one of the smaller installations in Japan, for us to get anything, I’m not going to turn that away,” he said.

A question about the possibility of providing incoming families a “Welcome to Camp Zama” packet with information on upcoming events and recreational opportunities prompted leadership to consider it, calling it “icing on top” of the newcomers’ orientation held monthly.

While attendees at the orientation are provided a wealth of information, Hunter said he is always open to suggestions for how to make it more beneficial. The commander noted that he recently added a representative from the Defense Commissary Agency as one of the presenters at the event.

“If there’s something we’re missing and you think we need to trumpet that during the newcomers’ brief, let me know,” he said. “Maybe there’s more information to put out and we need to broaden that scope.”

Tim Flack, the chief of Public Affairs for USAG Japan, highlighted a few of the information-sharing efforts his office spearheads. These include USAG Japan’s various social media outlets; the 24-hour Commander’s Access Channel, which runs 24 hours a day on all TVs connected to the on-base cable system; a weekly newsletter that highlights recent print news stories; the monthly “Zama Pulse” video news roundup program; and a weekly email sent to a nearly installation-wide distribution list that consolidates all the above.

To maximize the reach of the weekly email, Flack encouraged military leadership in the audience to disseminate it through their respective units and ask their Soldiers to then share the information with their spouses.

“My plea to you, as leadership teams, is that if you get that email, please push it down through your channels,” he said. “That’s the best possible way I can think to deliver a bunch of information every week.”

Other presenters at the CIE included representatives from the Zama Community Spouses Association, which will host a fundraising auction Feb. 24 at the CZCC, and the garrison’s voting assistance officer, who provided resources on registering and getting absentee ballots for this election year.

Community Information Exchange at Camp Zama offers updates, promotes open discussion
Stephanie Mogelgaard, right, president of the Killer Katanas, Camp Zama’s roller derby team, speaks to John Reynolds following the end of the Community Information Exchange held Jan. 23 at the Camp Zama Community Club. The event was meant to be a venue in which they could ask questions and offer feedback in addition to the information being provided. (Photo Credit: Dustin Perry, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

Following that was an update on the recently created Civilian Health Care Navigator program, which offers translators who can help those with navigating off-base medical care; a presentation from a Military and Family Life Counseling Services representative; information on the local Scouting programs; an introduction from the coordinator for the Killer Katanas, Camp Zama’s roller derby team; and more.

Hunter concluded the event by expressing his appreciation for those who came to get information and to have their voices heard, which he assured they were.

“There was a lot of valuable discussion here today,” he said. “Please help us continue to be able to make those connections to the community here.”