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November 09, 2012

Community

Volunteer Corps Program offers opportunities

Story & photo by Geneve N. Mankel, Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Volunteer Corps Program has many opportunities for personnel to donate time and experience in support of installation organizations, events and services.

The 135 volunteer positions currently open cover a wide range of interests and needs, said Janeen Folgers the Fort McCoy Army Volunteer Corps coordinator. Ski Patrol volunteers at Whitetail Ridge Ski Area, Army Family Team Building program instructors, Automotive Skills Center and Woodshop attendants, and ACS Family Programs, are a few examples.
PHOTO: Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Fey volunteers at Fort McCoy Army Community Service. Photo by Geneve N. Mankel
Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Fey, the Fort McCoy garrison chaplain assistant, volunteers at Fort McCoy Army Community Service. Fey helped by assembling totes for Military Family Appreciation Month.

The Volunteer Corps program is a function of ACS, which is part of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR).

Volunteer positions, however, are not limited to DFMWR programs and events, Folgers said. Opportunities exist with other installation organizations, such as assisting the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch with surveying and monitoring wildlife species at the installation, including Karner blue butterfly, deer, and bird populations.

The program also can assist personnel in finding volunteer opportunities in the local communities, such as with youth organizations and Veterans Affairs.

Volunteers also provide services for Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) on post.

“What many people don’t know is you don’t need to have a Family member in a unit to be part of that FRG,” Folgers said. Anyone in the Fort McCoy community can apply to volunteer for an FRG position. Organizations such as the 181st Infantry Brigade, its subordinate battalions, and the Noncommissioned Officer Academy are in need of FRG volunteers.

Anyone associated with the Army community — Soldiers, Family members, Department of Defense civilians, retirees, etc. — can participate in the Volunteer Corps, Folgers said.

“Many of the volunteers are military spouses who are new to Fort McCoy and don’t have jobs yet, so they volunteer their time and experience,” Folgers said.

Volunteer requirements vary depending on the position. The organizational proponent of the position establishes the criteria for duties, time requirements, evaluation procedures, and qualifications, Folgers said.

“Volunteering doesn’t just benefit the recipients of the volunteer work,” Folgers said. “The volunteers gain professional- development skills; it enhances resumes, and volunteers meet people with similar interests.”

Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Fey, the Fort McCoy garrison chaplain assistant noncommissioned officer in charge, has been volunteering at the installation for about a year.

“I enjoy the events I volunteer at and seeing the Families come out and having a good time,” Fey said.

Fey has volunteered at various installation Family Program events, such as Day for Kids, Easter Eggstravaganza, and Card Making workshops.

Fey also is a volunteer reading tutor at Child, Youth and School Services. She tutors youth in kindergarten through fifth grade two times per week.

Fey said she has always enjoyed volunteering and when she learned about the Volunteer Corps Program during an ACS briefing she thought it sounded like a good program.

“I volunteered at my last duty station too, but I like volunteering at Fort McCoy because there are more volunteer opportunities,” Fey said. “It’s also easy to volunteer here, you show up, work and leave, you don’t have to create everything like at my last duty station.”

Soldiers who volunteer can have their volunteer hours tracked by the Volunteer Corps program and submitted to their commands, Folgers said. Commanders can use the information toward completing applications for the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

Folgers, who became the Volunteer Corps coordinator in August, hopes to expand the program and has many ideas she hopes to execute.

“I want to find what’s needed and find volunteers who fit the need while also matching up volunteers with positions they will enjoy,” Folgers said.

She also would like to spotlight volunteer positions to get the word out to the installation about the opportunities available.
Prior to the Volunteer Corps coordinator position, Folgers worked at the Fort McCoy Family Housing Office.

“When I was part of the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) at Cataract Elementary School I learned how good it felt to be a volunteer,” Folgers said. “When this job became available I decided to apply for it because it’s (volunteering) where my heart is.”

Personnel who are interested in becoming a volunteer should visit the Army OneSource website at www.myarmyonesource.com, register at the site, fill out a volunteer application and search the volunteer opportunities. Volunteers also can apply in person at the ACS Center, building 2111, and speak directly with Folgers to be matched up with a position.

Each April volunteers in the McCoy community are recognized during a Volunteer Recognition Banquet for the hours of work contributed the prior fiscal year, Folgers said. In fiscal year 2011, 84 personnel contributed 9,774 volunteer hours, which equates to about $218,840 in wages paid at about $22.39 an hour.

For more information, call 608-388-6507.

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