(Note: The below article is from the Aug 97 edition of Navy "All Hands" Magazine. While it is written with Navy personnel in mind, for the most part, the information is applicable for members of all of the services.
- The Navy provides an array of local MWR programs both ashore and afloat. Food and beverage facilities, recreation
centers, movies, fitness facilities, golf courses, child development centers and swimming pools provide visible
evidence of these benefits, but they represent only part of the overall MWR picture. As a Navy member, you and
your family can take advantage of these and numerous other MWR benefits offered at Navy installations worldwide.
This rights and benefits segment describes the nature and scope of MWR programs available to you and your family.
- Appropriated and non-appropriated funds form the financial base for the Navy's MWR programs.
- Congress appropriates funds as part of the annual federal budget for the basic MWR needs of the military community.
- Primary sources of non-appropriated funds are the profit dollars from the Navy Exchange System, Ships' Stores Afloat and fees and charges levied on the purchase of various foods and beverages, and for use of recreation facilities or equipment.
- Every time you purchase an item at the exchange or ship store, you not only save money, but you also help operate your MWR programs. MWR operations are financed substantially (60 percent) with non-appropriated funds.
- Navy Exchange System earnings that are not required to finance exchange operations or maintenance are used to help fund recreation programs. About 3 cents of each dollar spent at the Navy Exchange is retained as profit and is used to fund local recreation programs.
Navy Food and Beverage
- While service to the naval community is the Navy's Food and Beverage System's mission, financial performance is the report card on how well it is doing. MWR recognizes that it must satisfy customers' needs while simultaneously maintaining sound financial operations.
- To provide market driven food, beverage and entertainment services, Navy clubs continue to change from traditional rank segregated military clubs to consolidated facilities known as community clubs. Quick service, catering/conference centers and entertainment centers that are not alcohol sales dependent are today's focus. Traditional club operations are consolidated into all hands operations and provide rank-specific lounges for officers, chiefs and enlisted membes.
- Navy club operations continue to be a success story. As of January 1997, Navy MWR operated 240 club activities, down from about 360 in FY90. Food sales now account for 67 cents of every dollar in food and beverage sales.
- Navy recreation programs are designed to support Navy readiness. With input from the Navy community, recreation programs and services have evolved during the last decade into a comprehensive and responsive program provided exclusively for the Navy community. The recreation program offers a variety of activities and services, including sports and fitness, youth activities, outdoor recreation, libraries, community activities, fleet recreation, auto hobby centers and many more. Whether aboard ship or ashore, Navy recreation programs are available to meet the fitness requirements and leisure needs of the Navy community.
- While it would be impossible to list every recreation program or service offered, some of the most popular programs are listed here. Local Navy MWR staffs can provide more information about the specific programs offered at your installation.
Sports and physical fitness
- "On Track to Excellence" is the new theme for the Navy sports and physical fitness program which focuses greater emphasis on total individual fitness.
- Navy sports and fitness programs are designed to give everyone an active role regardless of interest, age or ability.
- Included in the total sports and fitness programs are the following programming areas: instructional sports, recreational sports and athletic sports.
- Instructional sports provide the foundation for all sports enjoyment. The Sailor can experience "hands-on" instruction in sports and fitness activities that enhance physical readiness.
- Recreational sports are truly "sports for all" in the Navy. This element is comprised of four programming facets: informal sports, intramural sports, extramural sports and club sports. All are designed to provide varying degrees of competition and structured as well as unstructured activities for patrons.
- Athletic sports provide a "higher level" sports opportunity for all eligible active-duty personnel. The athletic sports element is divided into two areas. One is comprised of Navy training camps and the Armed Forces Championships and the other is national/international competition under the Conseil International Du Sport Militaire (CISM), Pan American and Olympic programs.
- With the Navy's emphasis on physical fitness, it is important that active-duty personnel keep in shape. Fitness centers, located at many installations, provide the facilities and equipment to help Sailors stay in top physical condition.
- The Navy Youth Recreation Program provides youth, ages 6 to 17, with recreation activities while teaching positive lifestyles. Most installations offer structured programs in sports and physical fitness, social and recreational activities/skills, personal development, day camps and teen programs. Every element of the youth recreation program has been developed to provide Navy youth with constructive leisure opportunities.
School Age Care
- This program is available at most installations and provides supervised recreation activities for children before and after school. Day camps provide supervised recreational activities during summer vacation and school holidays.
Single Sailor Program
- Single, active-duty personnel between the ages of 18 and 25 make up one-third of the Navy. The Single Sailor Program bridges the gap between the MWR department and the barracks or ship by actively involving Sailors in the planning of recreation activities to meet their specific needs.
- MWR staffs ensure that a variety of special events, classes, trips and outdoor activities are designed to meet these needs.
- Many bases have picnic areas and beach and lake front facilities with marinas or water sports centers that offer boats for rent as well as boating classes.
- Many installations also rent recreation equipment for activities such as fishing, water and snow skiing, and camping. They also offer classes in outdoor recreation skills such as hiking, canoeing and camping.
Information, Tickets and Tours (ITT)
- There's no better place for travel, tours or information regarding both on-base and off-base recreation than the local ITT office. ITT offers a discount ticket service for tours, shows, concerts and sports events on base as well as in the local community. The ITT office can also arrange group tours or help with travel plans.
- Sea duty is an especially difficult and demanding part of Navy life. It is important that Sailors are provided with quality leisure time activities that fit into the limited space available aboard ship. Fleet Recreation Coordinators (FRCs) help ships with their recreation programs. Located at fleet sites around the world, FRCs help afloat commands plan effective programs and obtain equipment for shipboard use.
- A variety of individual and group activities are available for the Sailor. Whether in port or overseas, organized tours, picnics and athletic competitions are an important part of the fleet recreation program. Ships also provide a wide selection of recreation and sports equipment for check-out.
Auto Hobby Shops
- Amateur mechanics can find everything they need to keep their automobiles running smoothly while saving money on car repairs and preventive maintenance. Many shops also provide sophisticated equipment often needed for major projects, such as engine overhauls, tune-ups and auto body work. Skills classes provide the knowledge necessary to work on your automobile, and at some installations repair parts can be purchased from the auto hobby shop parts department.
- Navy personnel can take advantage of free lap swimming during designated hours at most installations. Children and adults can participate in swimming and special pool-side events. Swimming teams, classes in water aerobics, water safety and special events, such as water festivals and pool parties, are also featured.
- Swimming classes are often available for people of all ages, including toddlers and infants as young as six months old.
- The Navy's bowling centers have something for bowlers of every skill level. Most centers offer open league bowling, intramural and inter-command competition, as well as special programs for Navy youth. Instructional classes, pro shop resale outlets, shoe rental, locker storage, game rooms, as well as food and beverage areas are available to help make bowling an enjoyable experience for every family member.
- A popular and relaxing sport at most Navy installations is golf, whether on 18-hole courses, pitch and putt courses, miniature "putt-putt" courses or driving ranges. Golf instruction is offered at all levels and clubs can be rented or stored at the golf course.
- Golf pro shops sell whatever equipment and sports clothing golf enthusiasts might need. When Navy golf courses are not available, special arrangements usually can be made for the use of public or private courses.
Child Development Centers
- Child care has become a high priority in the Navy in recent years. Many new child development centers (CDCs) have been built and older centers are being upgraded. Navy CDCs provide high- quality care on either a regularly-scheduled or drop-in basis. Fees are based on total family income.
- These centers also provide well-rounded programs designed to meet the emotional, intellectual, physical and developmental needs of children.
- CDCs also provide employment for Navy spouses. More than 60 percent of the care givers in Navy CDCs are military spouses. Wages are competitive with comparable jobs off-base, and career progression is tied to training.
- Ashore and afloat library collections are kept up-to-date by local efforts and through monthly book shipments provided by the Naval Education and Training Program Development Center in Pensacola, Fla.
- Small ships and shore activities usually receive paperback books and reference materials, while larger ships have regular libraries of up to 10,000 volumes or more. Libraries on aircraft carriers and at major shore installations offer impressive and varied collections and services.
- Many shore and some ship libraries subscribe to "best seller" leasing plans to receive the most recent popular books. Most shore libraries provide interlibrary loan services allowing them to borrow needed materials from other libraries.
- Appropriated and non-appropriated funds form the financial base for the Navy's MWR programs.