Humphreys AFAP seeks to improve services offered
CAMP HUMPHREYS -- All of the services, programs and quality of life initiatives here would not be what they are without community members like those who participated in the Army Family Action Plan Conference here, Oct. 9-10, in the Humphreys Community Fitness Center (Super Gym).
AFAP is the Army's grassroots process to identify and elevate the most significant quality of life issues impacting Soldiers (all components), retirees, civilians and families, to senior leaders for action.
Information provided through the AFAP process gives commanders and leaders insight into current satisfaction detractors, quality of life needs and the expectations of Army constituents. Leadership uses the information to affect changes that improve standards of living and support programs.
"AFAP is a structured process that originates Army-wide at the garrison level," said Harold J. Mullen, the AFAP program manager for Humphreys Garrison. "This year marked the 30th anniversary of the AFAP process. Community members were encouraged to submit issues for conference delegates to review, research, and then formulate a final product to present for resolution. The vast majority of issues are resolved or completed at the installation level, but some are beyond the local scope of authority and get forwarded as far as Department of the Army for consideration."
During the two days, delegates of all ranks, family members and youth, with help from the AFAP staff, combed through more than 65 total issues, whittling them down to 10 primary issues.
"I think the experience was great," said Capt. Jamie Hickman, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade. "I was especially pleased how the different organizational leaders responded back to our questions and concerns. They were true professionals. The overall experience was truly a learning experience."
AFAP veteran Lesa Craig, who served as a recorder this year, said "To think that our voices can actually make a difference in the quality of life for service members and their families, is empowering. Whether it is at the local level or changing actual Army regulations, AFAP is an amazing process that can truly make a difference on both small and large scales."
She noted that some military-wide AFAP issues, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, in-state tuition and the Authorization of black backpacks for wear by Soldiers, happened because of AFAP. One of the biggest things to come from AFAP was the establishment of Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers. Craig's son, Kalob, has also taken part in several of the Humphreys AFAPs as a delegate and this year, served as a facilitator for the Youth.
"Having the opportunity to workshop issues with other members of the USAG Humphreys community was a great experience," said Sgt. Timothy Price, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Support Company, 532nd Military Intelligence Battalion. "It gave me some awareness of issues within the community that I otherwise might not get exposed to. Also, it gave me some perspective hearing what others (whom are not necessarily in my unit or peer group) had to say on some other issues. In some cases, hearing the arguments from their point of view actually swayed my own view on some of the issues."
Near the end of the second day, the issues were presented by a group spokesperson and by skits that helped drive home the point of why the issue was important to that group. Some of the subjects tackled were: Service member patronage of dining facilities; unexplained debt on Leave and Earning Statements; childcare pricing; and medical entitlements for non-command sponsored families.
Maj. Gen. Thomas Vandal, 2nd Infantry Division commanding general, Brig. Gen. Erik Peterson, 2nd Infantry Division deputy commanding general for support and Humphreys senior responsible officer, Col. Walter Rugen, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Spano, 2nd Infantry Division command sergeant major, and Mark Cox, the Humphreys Garrison deputy commander, attended the AFAP out brief.
"I would like to thank everyone involved in this year's AFAP Conference," Mullen said. "The spirited and energetic support we received from the Soldier delegates provided by units and Youth delegates from the Humphreys Middle and High Schools, while they discussed and worked their work group issues, was truly remarkable. Additionally, we couldn't have conducted this conference without the outstanding support of our family member volunteer facilitators, recorders and family member issue support and information desk teams."
For more information about AFAP, call 753-3266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org