West Point Pointer View, 4 December 2008
AFAP conference addresses residents concerns
Story and photo by Emily Tower
More than 100 volunteers sorted through dozens of concerns submitted by the West Point community to figure out how to improve the post's quality of life during the Army Family Action Plan conference Nov. 18-19.
The post's leadership was briefed about the issues and the recommended solutions developed by the AFAP panels and promised to report issues and solutions to the necessary agencies.
"We do owe you answers on all of these issues," Lt. Gen. Buster Hagenbeck, West Point superintendent, said after the briefing, adding he will make sure post residents are kept updated about the issues' progress.
AFAP volunteers were divided into groups to study child, youth and education issues; consumer and Family support; housing, relocation and public works; medical and dental issues; military and civilian force support; and teen issues. The teen panel was comprised of high school student volunteers while other panels were made up of adult volunteers from across West Point.
Issues were submitted via Internet and suggestion boxes by West Point residents.
Issues ranged from housing concerns to hours and varieties of programs that are offered to handicap accessibility of some buildings.
Most issues can be resolved locally, and Hagenbeck called many of those "easy fixes." Others will have to be sent to higher levels of command, but Deputy Garrison Commander Wilfred Plumley promised that would occur.
The No. 1 issue and recommendations from each group were:
• School Age Services not being available for children who attend off-post schools. Recommendations include expanding SAS for those children and providing SAS when off-post schools do not have school but on-post schools do.
• No thrift shop at West Point. Recommendations include developing a thrift shop and management agency and allowing residents to donate or consign items.
• Lack of awareness and enforcement of temporary lodging policies. Recommendations include making sure policies and procedures follow the standard operating procedure and posting the standard operating procedure in prominent places and on Web sites.
• Bringing therapeutic horseback riding to Morgan Farm. Recommendations include partnering with local therapy programs to provide a program at Morgan Farm and training volunteers to help coordinate with cadet equestrian club and other organizations with access to horses.
• Driver's license and vehicle registration for military personnel and Families. Recommendations include creating a nationwide decal and registration system for military Families and creating a long-distance license renewal process.
• Activity awareness for high school students. Recommendations include starting a teen focus group to develop programs for high school students, creating a Web site and blog detailing activities for high school students and marketing events with flyers.
All issues and recommendations as well as updates about how issues are being tackled by leadership can be seen at the AFAP Web site -- www.westpointmwr.com/afap.htm.
Though the AFAP conference lasted two days, committees meet year-round to resolve issues. The public is invited to listen in on AFAP steering committees. Schedules are posted on the Web site and will be published in future editions of the "Pointer View."