Delegates gather for 2014 AFAP conference

| November 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The 2014 Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) conference begins Monday, and delegates from all ranks of the Army — active and reserve Soldiers and retirees, family members and surviving family members, Department of Army civilians and tenant organizations — will be gathered, here, to brainstorm ways to improve quality of life at U.S. Army Garrison­Hawaii.

Members of the Army community submitted improvements under consideration online and by contacting the garrison’s Army Community Service Office.

This year, about 63 issues covering the spectrum from health and safety to medical benefits and education were submitted, said Elisabeth Olsen, the Army Community Service family support officer who helped organize the conference.

The delegates will review and prioritize the issues, which will be presented to the garrison commander on the last day of the conference.

Many issues will be resolved at the garrison level, but some may be forwarded the Department of the Army for further review as part of the process.

“Having worked in a support role for AFAP for the past 20 years, I’ve seen the incredible advantages of having the commitment of the Army community to put forward any issues that represent a challenge to quality of life,” said Olsen. “These issues affect neighbors, units and the overall quality of life, and it helps to have these issues worked on by a committee of peers.

“What I’ve seen is that the issues brought up by one person may be important to that one person, but it turns out that it is usually important to a whole mess of people,” she added.

AFAP began in 1983 as a grassroots effort by a group of Army spouses who wanted to improve the quality of life of their families and has since grown to become the driving force behind hundreds of legislative, regulatory and policy changes within individual Army installations and on the national level.

 

AFAP

Since its inception 31 years ago, the AFAP process has resulted in more than 100 legislative and Department of Defense policy changes, and more than 150 new or improved Army programs and services.

Nationally, they include these:

•Privatization of family housing.

•Creation of the Military Thrift Savings Plan

•Enactment of the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

•Implementation of paternity leave.

Locally, they include these:

•Opening the MWR Kennel.

•Creation of Tropics Community Activity Center.

•Increase in Parents Night Out childcare availability

 

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