Magazine article Parks & Recreation

From the Director's Chair

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

From the Director's Chair

Article excerpt

When we think of American women and men in uniform, how they recreate typically isn't the first thing that springs to mind. While enlisted members of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard do spend a great deal of their time working to carry out and protect the interests of the United States, they have off-hours, too. Filling that time with a diverse array of leisure opportunities is the job of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) professionals, who oversee and administrate recreational programming designed for U.S. military personnel and their families stationed at home and abroad. As this is our Military issue, Parks & Recreation magazine asked Nancy Dussault, outdoor recreation program specialist with the U.S. Marine Corps Semper Fit and Recreation Branch (MFS); Josh Gwinn, IMCOM G9 community recreation chief for the U.S. Army; and Brian Rockenbach, CNIC Afloat Recreation Specialist for the U.S. Navy the following question: What is the most pervasive challenge you experience in trying to provide diverse and engaging recreational opportunities for enlisted women and men, as well as their families? Below are their responses.

Nancy Dussault

The greatest challenge to be relevant to our customers, Marines and our Commanders. Relevance has many sides--relevant to a new generation of young Marines entering the Corps every year, relevant to Commanders in that they are engaged with and support Semper Fit and Recreation programs, and relevant to key stakeholders who direct resources to the various Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) programs across the Corps.

In a resource-constrained environment, the Marine Corps has embarked on a major strategic-planning effort to help shape the future of Semper Fit and Recreation. This effort can be summarized in the following manner: On a given day, Marines need to "get stuff done," so that when they are off-duty they can "reconnect," "reignite" and "refuel." We identify these as targets of opportunity when looking at the programs offered and the manner by which they are delivered, while also exploring avenues for developing iv partnerships with off-base entities.

Our mission is to pro1 vide the "Total Force" with a healthy environment and provide relevant programs and services that sustain readiness, enhance quality of life and promote community wellness. This is a holistic approach that supports the balance of social, physical, spiritual and mental well-being of individuals and encourages optimal health where people live, work and play.

Josh Gwinn

Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) is he military equivalent of municipal park and recreation departments. FMWR offers traditional components, like parks, marinas, outdoor recreation program: recreation centers, sports programs and golf courses. In addition, FMWR provides child care, Armed Forces recreation centers, libraries, travel services, auto skills, bowling centers, food and beverage operations and a variety of social-service programs. These programs are delivered by a staff of more than 30,000 FMWR professionals around the world, at more than 75 garrisons, in places like Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Kuwait and various deployed locations.

When I began my career in FMWR in the late 1990s, the Army was primarily a garrison-based force with a predictable operational tempo (OPTEMPO). …

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