By Erin Murray, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 14, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 15, 2011) -- Soldiers, civilians and Family members representing the total Army concept will have their voices heard at the annual Army Family Action Plan Conference Oct. 5-6.
In order to make this year's conference successful, AFAP is seeking the help of the Fort Rucker community. Issues and concerns to be discussed are being accepted now until Sept. 22.
Shellie Kelly, AFTB and AFAP program manager hopes that Fort Rucker Community members will submit their issues no matter how small or large they may be. To submit an issue, Soldiers, Family and civilians can visit Bldg. 5700 Rm. 390 and fill out a form that will be reviewed by AFAP.
"It's a chance to change your world -- to influence and impact the things that challenge military communities. It's frustrating to see something you know is not right, and not be able to get it changed. Army Family Action Plan is that opportunity," Kelly said.
AFAP's work affects all levels of Army life, including active, Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers, Family members, retirees, surviving spouses and Department of the Army civilians. Since AFAP began, there have been 124 legislative changes; 176 Department of Defense or Department of the Army policy changes and 195 improved programs or services that have come directly from issue submissions and conferences.
The conference is held over two days, with about 50 delegates working in smaller work groups. Kelly said that the representatives at the conference are selected as a cross-section of the community.
"They mirror the Fort Rucker Community. It's a wide demographic. There's a lot of Soldiers, civilians and spouses," she said.
According to AFAP data, 90 percent of AFAP issues are handled at a local level, resulting in ongoing community improvements. The issues that cannot be resolved locally are handled at mid-level conferences and are sometimes reviewed at the Army-level AFAP conference. For those who are unsure of what constitutes an appropriate issue, Kelly provided some clarification.
"Issues that affect everyone at Fort Rucker or the global Army are good [for] AFAP. The focus should be on improving facilities, changing policy or regulation, and just making things work better for everyone," she said.
There will also be a Teen AFAP session Sept. 24 in order to handle youth issues directly, Kelly added.
She emphasized the importance of AFAP by recalling the many mainstays of Army life that came about because of Army Family concerns.
"Army Family Team Building came about because of an AFAP conference," she said.
Along with AFTB, other notable total Army results have been changes to the Heart Relief Act, current appeals for a Tricare orthodontic supplement and establishing minimum standards for Army child care . Locally, AFAP has helped resolve issues with pest control in Fort Rucker housing, handicapped parking at Bldg. 5700 and safety hazards on post roads, among many others, she said.
For more information or help with submitting an issue to AFAP, call 255-2382.