November 6, 2012
By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)
WIESBADEN, Germany - Delegates spent two days examining quality-of-life issues at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center during the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Army Family Action Plan Conference Oct. 18-19.
After prioritizing the top issues, conferring with local subject matter experts and hammering out the wording to formalize the "Conference Report Out," delegates presented six issues for further attention by the command at the local level or to be considered at higher level AFAP venues.
"The time we will spend in the next two days will examine how well we are taking care of our Soldiers, civilians, family members and retirees," said Annikka Trabuco, AFAP coordinator, in opening the conference.
"What you are doing today is very important. It's affecting not only our community, but possibly all the way up to the Department of the Army level," said Trabucco, explaining that since AFAP was launched in the early 1980s by Army spouses, nearly 700 issues have reached DA consideration.
"Keep in mind that what you're working for is the benefit of the community -- improving the quality of life," she said, pointing to past AFAP successes such as the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, Army Family Team Building, crosswalks in the housing areas, the Teen Center and local dog parks.
"Without you, we couldn't have AFAP," said Trabucco.
The six quality-of-life issues reported out from this year's AFAP conference include:
** Host nation linguistic services; ** Parking spaces in the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden; ** First termers financial readiness training during inprocessing; **Availability of medical services; ** Customer service in the on-post Housing Office; and ** Understanding outside the continental United States dental care for family members. (To view the entire AFAP Report Out visit the garrison's home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil and click on the "AFAP Issues" link.)
"The plan for follow-up on the issues is that the prioritized ones (in the Report Out) will be addressed first and the rest will be looked at in 90 days," Trabucco said.
Both Kandler and Trabucco credited a robust Interactive Customer Evaluation system, commander's hotline, social media and other feedback mechanisms with fewer major quality-of-life issues than in the past.
"Given how strong an ICE system we have here, the number of issues has steadily decreased," said Trabucco. "I believe this is because community members are utilizing ICE, the commander's hotline, AFN commander's show and the rest of the communication tools within the garrison," Trabucco said.
"I think this has been a pretty productive effort," said Dr. Robert Kandler, deputy to the commander, at the close of the conference. … These are really good issues and were well presented. You're making a difference within the community."