News: Community members brainstorm for better base
Story by Airman Sean Crowe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Joint base community members gathered for the Military Family Action Plan conference Jan. 23 and 24, 2013, at the Timmerman Center here.
The MFAP conference is an annual event in which delegates from all facets of the joint base are given the opportunity to address grassroots issues at a local, service-wide and Department of Defense level and bring them to the base leadership’s attention.
“The community has smart and capable ideas which need to be addressed,” said Col. John Wood, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst commander. “There are better ways to do things, and the ideas often come from our families. We had great success last year, and I look forward to making progress this year.”
Lisa Williams, 87th Force Support Squadron event planner, began the conference by expressing her positive views on the MFAP conference and listing ways it can and has helped JB MDL.
Some local success stories she spoke of include: high school graduation standardization requirements for military children, immigration and on-base naturalization services foundation, Soldier and Family Assistance Center parking lot lighting establishment and Facebook page creation for teen activities.
The MFAP foundation is built on establishing relevant focus groups. The groups are created based on issue categories. Members comprise MFAP participants and subject matter experts relative to respective categories. The turnout of community members consisted of 53 work group participants and 21 SME’s.
“An issue is anything that impacts unit morale or readiness,” said Williams.
The family support group decided a lack of a tracking system for volunteers for the whole DOD is an issue. They expressed the potential value of tracking the skills and hours service members put into volunteer work. The group proposed a DOD-wide system which mirrors the current Army volunteer hours tracking system.
The facilities and transportation group addressed the lack of shuttle stops at the All-American Inn and the Military and Family Support Center. They said this issue poses a safety hazard to those who have to walk across busy traffic areas from existing stops. The group proposed to put those stops in the shuttle’s route.
The benefits and entitlements group suggested creating a dedicated organization to assist service members with finding reputable housing near base.
The comprehensive group addressed difficulties with the child and youth programs registration issue. They suggested an online repository to store the information used to register children.
The last group, installation, was concerned with the windshield repair contractor’s misrepresentation at the gas stations on base. Some contractors promise their windshield repairs will be covered by insurance even if it is untrue. The group proposed making true information more readily available to customers.
The issues addressed in the out brief are just a few of the total 54 issues brought up throughout the MFAP conference. The other issues not included in the out brief were also recorded and will be submitted for review. Wood spoke after the out-brief regarding the issues brought to his attention during the conference and assured the participants that he would give his attention to the suggestions.
Individuals interested in giving feedback or a solicitation form to MFAP should call 562-3898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.