Town hall reveals Army programs in the KMC

Story and photo by Christine June
USAG Kaiserslautern

After attending the town hall meeting Jan. 29 at the Kaiserslautern Community Activity Center on Daenner Kaserne, one KMC resident says she now knows about pilot youth programs and initiatives that are soon to begin.

“I think it was a wonderful meeting, and I wish there had been more people here from the community so they could see and take part,” said Amy Thomson, an Air Force spouse who plans on letting all her friends know about the information she heard during the meeting. “It’s just like voting; if you don’t participate, how can you complain or benefit from it?”

As a combined Army leadership event, this is the third town hall meeting for the KMC.

It came about because Army Senior Mission Commander Maj. Gen. Yves Fontaine, 21st Theater Sustainment Command commanding general, wanted to be able to talk with families and hear their concerns, said U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern Commander Lt. Col. Mechelle Hale.

“One thing that excited me the most was hearing that they are going to offer child care options while you go to the gym,” Mrs. Thomson said.
She knows Steve Pelletier, the garrison’s Family Morale Welfare and Recreation director, was referring to Army fitness centers.

“We are all family. It’s just good to hear that other women are going to have that option to go to a gym and take their children,” said Mrs. Thomson, who was excited to be able to tell her single-parent friends who work on Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and attend the fitness center.
Kids on Site is a short-term hourly child care option at garrison facilities such as fitness centers and recreation facilities, as well as for conferences and meetings – like the town hall.

This program is one of the many new FMWR programs coming soon to the KMC.
Programs within programs is how one can describe The EDGE – Experience, Develop, Grow and Excel. Kaiserslautern has been chosen as the Army’s test site in Europe for this pilot program, Mr. Pelletier said.
Another youth program coming soon is the UR HIRed program where children in sixth grade and above can work in FMWR apprentice positions throughout the KMC, not just garrison positions.

It’s all coming soon to the KMC and still in the planning stages, said Mr.Pelletier, who gave a heads-up briefing to those who attended the meeting.
More information on the programs will be made public when it becomes available, he said.

He also talked about the recent agreement with the Air Force for its youth programs to honor the Army Family Covenant – a program that offers savings for child care and youth programs for deployed Soldiers’ families.

Mr. Pelletier said that since the agreement, deployed Soldiers’families enrolled at Air Force facilities have saved close to $2,000 since November, 46 children have received child care at the covenant’s 20 percent discount and eight children have received free sports programs.
Dorothy Choate, 435th Services Squadron family member programs chief, said the
agreement shows great partnership in the KMC.

“I think (the covenant) is a great program, and I understand the need for it,” she said.
Mrs. Choate was one of about 20 subject matter experts who were on hand to answer questions from family members regarding their agency or organizations, such as the Defense Commissary Agency, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

About 30 senior leaders from the 21st TSC, garrison and the Air Force also attended the meeting to hear the community’s concerns.
Mr. Pelletier was one of four presenters who gave a 10-minute brief on new information from their organizations.

Another new garrison incentive is the KMC bus shuttle during duty hours for Army kasernes in east and west Kaiserslautern. These kasernes are LRMC, Rhine Ordnance and Pulaski Barracks, and Daenner, Panzer and Kleber Kasernes.

The 90-day test period will start March 2.
Tim Wood, the garrison’s logistics director, showed attendees the tentative schedule for the shuttle.
“What has determined (the shuttle schedule) for us was the opening hours of the facilities that we are trying to get the Soldiers to, like the dining facilities and medical and dental clinics,” he said. Single, in- and out-processing Soldiers are the main focus for passengers of the shuttle service; however, Department of Defense civilians and family members can also ride the bus on a space available basis, Mr. Wood said.

More information on the KMC shuttle service will be provided to the community as soon as it is available, he said.
Other topics discussed were the new perimeter security patrols for Vogelweh Housing and the opening of the 21st TSC tax centers in the KMC.
The next town hall meeting will be in April.
Those wishing to add topics to the next meeting can call the garrison’s Army Community Service at 493-4062 or 0631-3406-4062.