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Military leaders often encourage troops to get out and explore their surroundings while they’re stationed in Europe.

Now a new program to air on American Forces Network Atlantic will offer tips for those who are a bit hesitant.

"EuroPass" debuts Thursday. The 10-minute show will alternate at 7:50 p.m. on Thursdays with "Faces of Freedom," another AFN original program produced by AFN South in Vicenza, Italy.

The new show will showcase travel opportunities available for servicemembers around the continent as well as highlight existing programs on base that troops might not be aware of.

"It’s quite a bit more than just a travel show," said Robert Sekula, one of the show’s producers and the narrator for the segments.

"We want to show places," said Aaron Talley, another producer. "At the same time, show military programs that will help you get there."

More than half a dozen segments have already been completed and both producers say there’s no shortage of ideas at this point.

Several of the first segments will focus on activities for those based in Vicenza, but a variety of other locations are already on film as well. Sekula said he plans to travel around to various AFN affiliates around Europe. The goal is to get material from all the places where troops are stationed — and many places they’re not, he said.

For instance, Sekula traveled with someone who ventured to Sweden to pick up a Volvo through the military sales program and filmed segments on places, such as Gothenburg, along the way.

Other early segments include a look at Space-A travel at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, dining at a German brewery/restaurant, life for sailors stationed at Souda Bay, Crete, and a visit to Italian vineyards.

"There’s also some how-to segments involved," Sekula said. "For example, how to buy a train ticket in Europe and get it stamped properly."

Or pointers on checking your bicycle as well as suggestions on where to go riding.

Talley said a handful of people will contribute to every show, including two new graphic artists — Laura Zaupa and Dan Collins — who just joined the AFN staff.

"They’re very good," Sekula said. "Our graphics will have Discovery Channel quality."

Angela West, who teaches English literature and video communications at Vicenza High School, will be the on-air host.

Talley narrates most of the first program, which provides glimpses of future episodes. He said AFN South has high hopes that viewers will like what they see.

"It’s going to be our flagship show," he said.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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