Unit Advisory Council a voice for Cadet Wing, community

Capt. Gena Parkman and Master Sgts. Kim Mann and Dan Spain prepare meals at Marian House March 2, 2010. The three Airmen are part of the Air Force Academy's Unit Advisory Council. Captain Parkman is assigned to the Academy's Cadet Counseling Center. Sergeant Mann is superintendent of Cadet Wing Human Relations, and Sergeant Spain is superintendent of Basic Cadet Training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ann Patton)

Capt. Gena Parkman and Master Sgts. Kim Mann and Dan Spain prepare meals at Marian House March 2, 2010. The three Airmen are part of the Air Force Academy's Unit Advisory Council. Captain Parkman is assigned to the Academy's Cadet Counseling Center. Sergeant Mann is superintendent of Cadet Wing Human Relations, and Sergeant Spain is superintendent of Basic Cadet Training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ann Patton)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Unit Advisory Council here wants others around the Academy to join them in improving the Cadet Wing and the Colorado Springs community.

The UAC meets monthly at one of four Cadet Group locations to consider suggestions and ideas concerning the Cadet Wing, community projects and quality-of-life issues, said Tech. Sgt. David Johnson, the council's special events chairman.

Suggestions brought up at past meetings have included a single-parent gym area where parents can work out and keep an eye on children in a play area at the same time. UAC president Master Sgt. Brady McCoy, the Academy military training NCO for Cadet Group 4, said that the group wants to become a voice of those issues.

"The more eyes; the more thoughts; the more people involved, the better the product will be," he said.

The council has grown from about a dozen members last year to about 35 this year. In addition to serving as a voice for those supporting the Cadet Wing, the council also performs fundraising, special events and charity projects.

Sergeant Johnson, the AMT for Cadet Squadron 19, said spring events such as an Easter egg hunt and a sports day are in the works, with the sports day currently scheduled for May 6. During the winter holidays, the group raffled holiday-themed baskets and assisted with Cadet Wing event preparation to raise money in support of projects like Recognition and award ceremonies.

Sergeant McCoy said the council also needs to be involved with outreach efforts.

"We need to be more than problem solvers," he said. "We need to become more involved in the community. As the community gives back to the military, the military can give back to the community that has supported them."

Sixteen volunteers pitched in at the Marian House Soup Kitchen March 2 to help feed 604 Colorado Springs residents. The council is also considering quarterly Adopt-A-Highway events, food and clothing drives and assisting with Habitat for Humanity and city park maintenance.

"It gives people ... the opportunity to get involved," Sergeant Johnson said. "We have people out there with great ideas."

The council meets the first Tuesday of every month from 10-11 a.m. at revolving Cadet Group locations and welcomes both servicemembers and civilians. For full membership, participants must attend three meetings a year and participate in at least one fund-raiser.

"We want people to be involved," Sergeant Johnson said. "It shows commitment toward wanting to make the Academy better and help the community. But you don't have to be a member of UAC to speak up."

For more information on the Unit Advisory Council and meeting locations, contact Sergeant McCoy at 333-6689 or Sergeant Johnson at 333-8834.