HEIDELBERG, Germany - Contrary to its traditional name - American Women's Activities, Germany - the group is open to all volunteers throughout Europe.

"AWAG is not just for women anymore, and you might even be a member without knowing it," said Juliet Davidson, AWAG chairwoman. "If you volunteer anywhere or for any organization, you automatically (qualify) as a member."

The organization has been educating the volunteer force in Europe since 1946, with it's origins in Germany, which had the largest command force at the time. But the group has expanded - currently serving all branches of the military, with chapters also in England, Italy and Belgium.

Organized to oversee charitable and welfare activities shortly after World War II, the AWAG mission today is to train, strengthen and connect volunteers, their organizations and their communities.

One such way is by bringing together speakers, community leaders and volunteers for one-day, area conferences that focus on topics such as "How to Raise Money for Your Family Readiness Group," "Leadership," "Public Speaking," "How to Recruit and Keep Your Volunteers" along with lighter topics such as "Flea Market Shopping" and "Living and Traveling in Europe."

"There is something for everyone," Davidson said."(Area representatives) tend to tailor the speakers and topics to meet the needs of the community they represent."

"We encourage everyone who volunteers, or leads volunteers, or is interesting in volunteering to attend one of the events," she added. "It is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen and enhance your abilities, and to network with others in the community."

Furthermore, these day-long conferences are "just a small taste of what is to come in May," Davidson added, referring to the annual AWAG conference that will bring representatives from throughout Europe together in May 2008 in Garmisch.

The one-day, area conferences are being held at the following places:

Rheinland Pflaz area: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 22, Ramstein Air Base Officers Club;

Schwaben area: 8: 30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct 23rd at Swabian Special Events Center, Patch Barracks, Stuttgart;

Italy: 8: 30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct 30 at Support Site Community Center, Naval Support Activity, Naples;

United Kingdom: 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Nov. 9, Middleton Hall, RAF Mildenhall;

Rhein Neckar area: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 14, Heidelberg's Patrick Henry Pavilion;

Hessen area: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Nov. 15, Wiesbaden Army Airfield Community Activity Center;

Oberpfalz area: 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Nov. 17, Rose Barracks, Vilseck;

Benelux: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 27, USAG-Brussels Chapel Center.

The registration fee - ranging from $15 to $20, depending on location - includes lunch and speaker forums.

For more information or to register for one of the conferences, log onto the AWAG Web site at www.awag.us and click on a specific area/community link.

Additionally, you can e-mail the following area representatives:

Hessen: Parri Hinton - hessen@awag.us

Oberpfalz: Roseanna Cintron or Dee Dee Koch - oberpfalz1@awag.us

Rhein Neckar: Karen Russ - rheinneckar@awag.us

Rheinlandpfalz: Melanie Iams or Johnette Owens - rheinlandpfalz@awag.us or rheinlandpfalz2@awag.us

Schwaben: Susan Kellett-Forsyth - schwaben@awag.us

Italy: Consuelo Nguyen - italy@awag.us

United Kingdom: Donna Balutski - uk@awag.us

Benelux: Rikki Battersby - benelux@awag.us