In 1994, a Marine Corps quality of life study found that 43 percent of all single, enlisted Marines were dissatisfied with their overall quality of life. Based on these findings, the commandant of the Marine Corps directed the establishment of the Single Marine Program.
The SMP encourages and assists single Marines in identifying and planning recreational and leisure activities while assisting commands in identifying and recommending solutions for quality of life issues.
The SMP committee includes a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, installation chaplain or designate and an SMP representative from each element of the installation's population.
An MCCS Semper Fit employee, who keeps the program moving along, acts as a liaison between the SMP committee and the command, ensuring all activities are properly planned and coordinated.
According to Somer Meeden, Single Marine Program coordinator here, the program has been effective on this base particularly with providing new recreational activities for the single Marines and geographical bachelors on base to do.
"Since I've been involved with the program, I would say that every event we have planned has been a success," said Meeden. "Of course, the participation level may be lower on some events then we might like, but there is always at least one Marine who enjoyed the activity or event. The Marines on base are so diverse, and have such different interests, that it can be a challenge to find an activity that everyone will be interested in."
The biggest quality of life issue single Marines have in Barstow is that there are a limited amount of places to visit and things to do, said Cpl. Daniel Perez, MCLB Barstow Single Marine Program president.
"What we try and do is find things that are exciting and that Marines want to participate in," said Perez. "When we get a trip going that people get interested in, it's good for the Marines' morale."
According to Meeden and Perez, the SMP has taken trips all over Southern California, from college football games to hockey games, and from jet skiing in Lake Havasu, Ariz., to volleyball on the beaches of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Planning leisure activities is just one element of the SMP mission though. The SMP also assists the command in identifying and finding solutions to quality of life issues on base.
"We address the problems together as a group that individuals could not necessarily address on their own," said Perez. "If there (are) any Marines on base that have a quality of life issue that needs (to be) resolved, we the SMP would like to get the message out that we are here to help."
According to Perez, the Single Marine Programs around the Corps have been instrumental in building enlisted clubs, renovating gyms and playing fields, and even remodeling barracks to provide a more comfortable living area.
"The SMP should be a hub for single Marine camaraderie on base," said Perez. "We want to make MCLB a comfortable place for the single Marines on base, a place where Marines can feel at home."