AW2 Symposium—Kids Serve Too!

By Jim Wenzel, WTC Stratcom

The Labarca-Cruz Family attend the 2010 AW2 Symposium in San Antonio, TX.

April, Month of  the Military Child, is a time for the Army to recognize the character and maturity demonstrated by nearly two million military children as they experience their parents’ frequent displacement, long separation, and, at times, the visible and invisible wounds and scars of training, deployment, and conflict.

The Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) recognizes that military kids of Warriors in Transition accept the shared efforts to provide care and strength to their parents. This demonstrates that these kids also share in serving the Army and the nation.

As AW2 identifies delegates for this summer’s AW2 Symposium, I want to stress the role AW2 kids play in the process—and it’s not just fun and games in Orlando. As parents lend their experienced voice in sorting through major issues affecting the Army’s care and transition of Warriors in Transition, their young children will have fun in daycare while older children will find adventure at a camp organized by Operation Purple®. The teenagers will also be given the opportunity to participate in an informal focus group that will allow them to discuss and select major issues important to military children of wounded warriors.

AW2 is about halfway through the process of identifying and selecting AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families to speak on behalf of Army wounded warriors. At Symposium, we anticipate the presence and active participation of our military children. We will give them opportunities for fun as well as allow their voice to be heard—we truly believe they serve too.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity for both you and your Family, please go to the AW2 Symposium homepage for more information or contact your Advocate.

Calling AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Family members to Attend the 2011 AW2 Symposium

By COL Greg Gadson, AW2 Director

Attention AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Family members. AW2 is now accepting applications for delegates to attend this year’s AW2 Symposium in Orlando, FL, on July 17-22, at the Rosen Centre Hotel.  As a delegate, you will identify and develop recommendations regarding current issues impacting the health, recovery, rehabilitation, transition, and welfare of AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, Family members, and caregivers. These recommendations will be forwarded through the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) for potential presentation to senior Army leadership.

No other branch in the Armed Services has a similar process. Your participation in the AW2 Symposium has the potential to shape legislation and policies affecting wounded, ill, and injured, warriors from every branch of service. You don’t have to take my word for it. Read more about last year’s AW2 Symposium and the 3 issues that were included in the “Top 5 AFAP Conference Issues” at the 2011 Worldwide Conference in February.

Working through these issues requires a great deal of time and focus. To assist AW2 Symposium delegates, AW2 will offer daycare for children under 6 and will team up with the National Military Family Association (NMFA) to host Operation Purple®—an urban adventure camp for children ages six to seventeen. Delegates will also enjoy an AW2 Community Support Network exhibit hall, Family Night, and many other exciting events.

I highly encourage you to submit an issue and apply to become a delegate. If you would like more information or have questions about the AW2 Symposium, please contact your AW2 Advocate, visit www.WTC.army.mil/AW2/symposium, or call (877) 393-9058.

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AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families can submit a blog for AW2 by emailing WarriorCareCommunications [at] conus.army.mil.