Members of the Fort Drum community can improve the quality of life for military families and effect substantial change at the installation by participating in the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP). Focus groups will start meeting early next year, but an information campaign is starting now to let people know how they can participate. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
(Photo credit: Michael Strasser)


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FORT DRUM, NY (October 28, 2022) — Some people want change, and then there are those who help bring it about.

Members of the Fort Drum community can improve the quality of life for military families and effect substantial change at the installation by participating in the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP).

Army Family Team Building and AFAP program manager Kelly Bice invites everyone to “be the change” by attending an event of the same name at the Post Exchange.

Community members can stop by the Be the Change information booth at the Post Exchange from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on November 3, 10, and 17 to learn more about AFAP, submit issues, and register. to attend upcoming events.

“The Army Family Action Plan is an opportunity for soldiers, their family members, civilian employees and retirees to communicate quality of life issues to command,” Bice said. “It gives commanders a chance to solve a problem at the lowest level or elevate it and have it dealt with at a higher level. It really is a unique program that can bring good change.

Fort Drum has not hosted AFAP events in recent years, so “Be the Change” serves as a reminder for community members and encourages participation.

“At the same time, there are people who are familiar with the AFAP process from other facilities and they may have experience as facilitators, recorders and other volunteer positions,” she said.

For those who want to volunteer and have no previous experience, Bice said they can attend a training to learn the different roles of AFAP and the skills required.

“It’s a way for people to get a clear idea of ​​what their roles are,” she said. “If they’re not comfortable with it, that’s when we can make changes to the group, because we want people to feel good about their ability to lead the group to positive results.”

The Bice has a binder with over 700 AFAP issues that have been addressed Army-wide, dating back nearly 40 years. It can track issues that have been resolved, issues that are still active and progress in resolving them, and issues that are deemed inaccessible.

Historically, 90% of AFAP issues are handled locally. Since 1983, AFAP has driven hundreds of legislative and policy changes and improved services and programs throughout the Army. For example, in 2002, the Thrift military savings plan was created. School Liaison Officers were introduced in 2003. The federal Wounded Warrior hiring process was implemented in 2011, the same year the Department of the Army’s Civilian Voluntary Leave Bank Program was launched.

Le Bice said six issues had already been submitted to his office, and that through word of mouth to promote AFAP.

“And they’re also interesting,” she said. “I believe we can make them workable on some level. One was about nutrition and food security, which can affect many military families.

When people submit issues and concerns, Bice said they are categorized into six problem areas – Force Support; family support; Medical and Dental; Benefits and rights; youth and education; and transition and employment.

Breakout groups for each thematic area are scheduled to meet early next year, leading to an AFAP Town Hall in the spring. A second round of focus groups – potentially with all new members – will begin this summer, then AFAP will conclude with a final town hall meeting in the fall.

Le Bice said it’s important to get a broad cross-section of the community involved, and that includes young servicemen.

“Their contribution really makes a difference,” she said. “The teens came up with the program so that military families could apply for stabilization so students wouldn’t have to move to a new duty station in their senior year. It helps with scholarships, prom, school credits, and other things that are important to families.

Bice will talk about AFAP during the next Community Information Exchange, which will begin at 10 am on November 2 at the Commons. The event is broadcast live on www.facebook.com/drum.10thmountain, and viewers can ask questions about the program online for real-time feedback. People can also contact Bice at (315) 772-6710.

The AFTB and AFAP office is located at the Family Resource Center, Bldg. 11042, boulevard du Mont Belvédère.