Humphreys AFAP seeks to improve services offered
CAMP HUMPHREYS -- Whether it is registering a vehicle or handing out equipment at one of the fitness centers, 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, Oct. 1-2.
AFAP, which has been around for 31 years, 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. "Community members are encouraged to submit issues for conference delegates to review, research, and formulate a final product to present to the Garrison Commander and staff for resolution. This year's conference received 25 AFAP issues for review, which is a significant reduction from previous years' totals."
He added, "It appears that Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, social media outlets like Facebook, and involvement by the chain of command and Family Readiness Groups, is having a favorable impact in satisfying the needs of our community members."
During the two days, delegates of all ranks, family members and youth, with help from the AFAP staff, combed through the 25 total issues, whittling them down. Then the work groups select the top two issues from those they reviewed, to out-brief those to the commander.
That doesn't mean the other issues aren't important; all issues get referred to directorate or installation support agencies (Exchange, Schools, Commissary, etc.) for action, and hopefully resolution, through the Quarterly Steering Committee process.
"The conference was a wonderful experience," said Andrea Linford-Vegvari, an AFAP delegate. "Not only were we able to be a part of the positive changes in the military community, we were also given the opportunity to ask questions from subject matter experts so that we could find the root of the problem. A lot of times, we see only the surface. AFAP gave us the opportunity to see the inner workings and understand why the problem exists. With that knowledge, real and positive changes can be made."
Julie Zwiebel, the Army Community Services coordinator at Suwon Air Base and an AFAP group facilitator, said "AFAP is one of the most powerful tools the Army community has. How powerful is it to know that one person, somewhere around the world, submitted an issue on giving their GI Bill to their dependents has become legislation and now affects all branches of service? That's tens of thousands of Service Members and their families who have benefitted from this program. That's what the AFAP program is about -- one voice making changes for the masses."
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: Youth ticket prices at overseas Exchange movie theaters; accurate body fat percentage measurements; and provider-to-patient ratios at the Humphreys Health Clinic.
Humphreys Garrison Commander Col. Darin S. Conkright, Mark Cox, the Humphreys Garrison deputy commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew D. McCoy, the garrison command sergeant major, attended the AFAP out-brief.
"I want to thank all the volunteer staff and delegates who participated in this year's conference," Mullen said. "Although the conference may have been smaller than before, the importance of their mission and the enthusiasm everyone displayed met the highest of standards. Each working group had spirited discussions, while reviewing and prioritizing the issues and the support staff was thoroughly efficient and accurate in capturing data and preparing documents required within the system. The Subject Matter Experts provided each group with exceptional support by explaining regulatory or lawful information for issues, as well as advice for recommendations toward resolution of issues."
For more information about AFAP, call 753-3266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.