Are you Taking Advantage of the many free and low cost programs?
Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs are available on all military installations around the country and the world. Did you know that when you shop your installation Exchange the majority of the earnings are returned to MWR to help improve the quality of life for military service members and their families?
Here are some great things you can take advantage of through MWR:
- Installation Libraries. Many have fun programs and activities for younger children
- Get Fit. After physical training hours in the morning there are a variety of fitness centers available for family use. Swim and workout on a variety of equipment at no charge. Take fitness classes (some posts or bases have a moderate fee). Many MWR programs offer a variety of fitness challenges and races such as mud runs, triathlons and 10K runs.
- Outdoor Recreation. Offers a variety of equipment rentals such as skis and camping gear. Purchase fishing licenses and state park passes. Go on an outdoor adventure on one of the many trips they offer like white water rafting or a photography class at a stunning sunset location. Take scuba or kayak classes. Joint Base Lewis-McChord outdoor rec even offers a mountaineering program. Each installation will be different based on where it is located. For example Florida and Hawaii locations may be more aquatic centered while those in Colorado will have more mountain activities like skiing and rock climbing.
- Are you crafty? Check out the Arts and Craft Centers and learn how to frame like a pro. It is a handy skill for all the awards and certificates your spouse will accumulate. Many offer ceramics and classes on various artistic endeavors. Some offer art classes for home schooled children.
- Auto Skills Center. If you like to maintain your own car, this is the place for you. Skilled mechanics are available for questions and teaching while plenty of equipment to maintain your vehicle is available for a small rental fee. Some locations offer a free oil change for those with a deployed spouse, just bring your own oil and filter.
- Bowling alleys, Clubs and Dining. MWR offers a variety of recreational activities for service members and their families. Some are specifically geared towards service members while others are family friendly. The bowling alley is very reasonably priced compared to civilian locations.
- Golf. You may never get to play at the Augusta National Golf Club, home to the Masters tournament but you can play at the Gordon Lakes Golf Club located not far away at Fort Gordon. This is considered one of the finest courses in the South and was designed and built by Robert Trent Jones, Senior, a renowned golf course architect. There are great courses at military installations all over the country and you can play for much less than at a country club.
- Armed Forces Recreation Centers. Enjoy a vacation at Disney World, in Germany, Hawaii and South Korea for much less than you would pay at other resorts. The Hale Koa Resort in Waikiki sits on a prime beach front location. In addition many installations have camping and cabins available for rent. The Navy has great MWR facilities with lodging at Pacific Beach in Washington State as well as in Fort Story adjacent to Virginia Beach and condos in Key West. You can really stretch your vacation dollars at these locations.
MWR has many great opportunities for recreation and sports. Check out https://www.navymwr.org/, http://myairforcelife.com/, https://www.armymwr.com/. You can also find out more information by looking at the local MWR site for the installation you are assigned to.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com