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Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell Balutski of Lakenheath's 48th Communications Squadron was one of the speakers at the American Women's Activities, Germany, conference at RAF Mildenhall. The conference was a one-stop shop for learning the finer points of running a volunteer organization.
Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell Balutski of Lakenheath's 48th Communications Squadron was one of the speakers at the American Women's Activities, Germany, conference at RAF Mildenhall. The conference was a one-stop shop for learning the finer points of running a volunteer organization. (Geoff Ziezulewicz / S&S)

RAF MILDENHALL — No doubt about it, volunteerism is a virtue.

But it’s not always as simple as the dedication of time.

How does one manage the books of a volunteer organization, or keep things in line via Robert’s Rules of Order? As with any sound operation, logistics play a part.

To help do-gooders get better at doing good, the American Women’s Activities, Germany held a daylong event at Mildenhall on Friday, covering all aspects of making volunteers better at what they do.

Don’t let the name fool you, though. AWAG has branches throughout U.S. European Command communities, and is also looking to expand to the States, said Kimberly Jansen, a conference assistant who has lived in England since 2005 with her husband, who is stationed at RAF Lakenheath.

“People volunteer for a position of treasurer or leadership, and they don’t have the tools to help them,” Jansen said. “We’re trying to give them those tools.”

Through the AWAG’s assorted yearly mini- and daylong conferences, attendees learn more about what it is to volunteer as well, said Donna Balutski, an organizer for the U.K. event.

“If you don’t have a good strong organization, your volunteer mission is not going to go well,” Balutski said. “Leadership is leadership whether or not you’re in a volunteer organization.”

The AWAG events, which will include the organization’s annual conference in Garmisch, Germany, next year, are also great places to network, Jansen said.

All military branches, ranks and walks of life are represented in the AWAG’s attendees and membership, she said.

“It’s a fabulous organization and a great place to network,” she said.

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