By Milena Felkl, Intern with USAG Bavaria Public Affairs
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Arriving to a new military installation can take some time getting used to, especially overseas. To help combat the culture shock at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, KONTAKT Clubs in Rose and Tower Barracks work to bring people together from different backgrounds. For decades these clubs helped support German-American friendship, which is an important part of the community and beneficial for all.
Both KONTAKT Clubs offer a variety of activities and social gatherings where community members can connect, exchange ideas and experiences. It is a great way to learn about the culture of Bavaria.
“The intention of the club has always been to help support the German-American friendship and create a place for cultural exchange,” says Wolfgang Glowania, international president of KONTAKT Club Vilseck.
The cultural exchange offers Americans the opportunity to learn about Bavaria and its culture; furthermore, it also gives Germans a great way to learn about America’s melting pot, practice the English language with native speakers and make new friends.
“It is wonderful to establish lifelong friendships and staying in touch for years,” says Walter Brunner, international president of KONTAKT Club Grafenwoehr. “Even after some people have travelled back to the United States of America, we maintain the friendships.”
To diversify the program, different trips and events are offered seasonally. These range from day trips to local fests and attractions, hosting cooking classes, barbecues and more. Social gatherings are held on a regular basis, where people can meet and connect.
Another way the KONTAKT Clubs help Americans better integrate into Bavaria is through volunteer work. To give back to the local community, the KONTAKT Clubs and its multinational members regularly donate to charity, provide pet food to local animal shelters, organize visits to nursing homes and support people in need – like the Soziale Stadt Grafenwoehr with the Buergerladen.
If you are interested in joining or visiting the club, make sure to stop by at one of their events on Vilseck (Rose Barracks, Bldg. 301) or Grafenwoehr (Tower Barracks, Bldg. 108). Additionally, community members can follow the Facebook pages, here:
Editor’s Note: The KONTACT Clubs charge separate annual membership fees. For more information, or to find the best fit, please reach out to the clubs directly.