By By Sarah J. Schmidt, USAG Schinnen Public AffairsFebruary 5, 2010
BRUNSSUM, Netherlands - Delegates of the U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen's Army Family Action Plan Conference held intensive discussions at the JFC Conference Center here Feb. 3-4, debating dozens of community issues and finally prioritizing 15 issues that will now be vetted by USAG Schinnen's Commanders' AFAP Steering Committee.
Those issues may be forwarded to Installation Management Command-Europe for consideration at the European AFAP Conference scheduled for this summer.
"This has been a very productive couple of days and also, I heard, very intensive at times, but that's okay because it shows you care about your community," Maj. Gen. Byron Bagby, director of Operations at JFC HQ Brunssum, told delegates during the conference out-brief.
Bagby serves as the General Officer Senior Mission Commander for U.S. Army personnel assigned in the Netherlands.
Sharing Bagby's view that this session was productive was Jennifer Partridge, Schinnen's AFAP Coordinator, who said she came away pleased with the results.
"This year's group of delegates devoted a lot of time and energy to the AFAP process and selected many good issues that could ultimately produce changes that benefit us all," Partridge said.
One such issue came from the teen work group, which suggested ways to increase and improve recycling efforts at school, explained Partridge. Another hot topic was the accessibility of AFN-TV with two work groups offering recommendations, Partridge said.
Other issues addressed child care, dislocation living allowances, standardization of services, medical care, housing policies, customer service, family member employment and recreational facilities.
"These issues represent the hard work of 70 total AFAP delegates, including those who attended mini-conferences that we held in Rotterdam, Rheindahlen and AFNORTH International School, plus dozens of other individuals throughout our community who took the time to submit comments or suggestions during the weeks leading up to the AFAP Conference," Partridge said.
Because USAG Schinnen serves customers in a tri-border NATO environment, four branches of the armed services were represented at this year's mini-AFAPs and annual AFAP conferences, along with civilians, retirees and family members who served as delegates.
Schinnen's AFAP Conference is one of many held annually at Army installations around the world. The conferences bring together service members, family members, DoDDS employees, retirees and military leaders to identify issues impacting their communities and to offer solutions for resolving those issues.
Now in its 26th year, the AFAP process has adopted over 650 issues, resulting in 112 legislative revisions, 159 changes to Department of Defense and Army policies, and 178 improvements to programs and services worldwide.