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Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Programs


Some of the unique benefits available to service members and their families include those programs offered through Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. Service members and their families may be able to rent a cottage at the beach, buy discount tickets to a theme park, take swimming lessons or get help managing their personal finances. Throughout the military, MWR programs provide high quality recreation opportunities and consistent community support for service members and their families. For Guard, reserve and active duty service members who live far from an installation, MWR offers an Outreach Program to meet their needs.

Boating programs and marinas, bowling centers, golf courses, stables and special interest recreation programs are offered to service members and their families at a lower cost than similar activities in the civilian community. The programs vary by installation and by location but often include many of the following:

  • Boating programs and marinas with instruction, rentals and, in some areas, private berths
  • Bowling centers with instruction, open bowling, league bowling, tournaments and equipment resale
  • Golf courses with open play, instruction, tournaments and club and apparel resale
  • Stables with rental horses for recreational riding and, at some installations, boarding, organized event, and competitions
  • Special interest recreation programs, such as flying, shooting ranges and scuba diving

Physical fitness, aquatics and sports programs include fitness centers, swimming pools, intramural sports and team sports. The sports program sponsors competitive sports teams representing installations or service branches in events sanctioned by the Armed Forces Sports Council. Through the program, service members may also participate in national and international sporting events, such as the Pan American Games, Conseil International du Sport Militaire and the Olympics.

Hospitality and lodging programs include the following:

  • Food, beverage and entertainment programs
  • Membership and non-membership clubs
  • Joint service facilities and armed forces recreation centers
  • Recreational lodging programs, such as camping and cabin rentals

Individual skills development programs offer educational activities that advance technical knowledge and offer opportunities for creative growth. They vary by installation but can include:

  • Performing arts programs, such as theater centers, dinner theaters, music centers, performing arts centers and special entertainment events
  • Arts and crafts programs with instruction in fine arts, crafts and industrial and vocational arts
  • Automotive skills programs with facilities, equipment, technical instruction and problem-solving services to help service members and family members with automotive repairs

Information, Ticket and Tours offers information on local and regional attractions. Other services vary by location but often include the following:

  • Group tours to local and regional attractions
  • Tickets to movie theaters, concerts, plays, professional sporting events and theme parks
  • Packaged tours and cruises
  • Commercial resort reservations
  • Travel insurance

The ITT Program offers remote or automated services for installations that lack sufficient volume to justify a staffed office or for service members living far from an installation.

Libraries and information services programs are available at Department of Defense installations, aboard ships, and through military service portals. Service members can also access the services through Military OneSource in the form of electronic books and other information. The program also includes the delivery of books to deployed service members, remote and isolated sites and military missions in foreign countries.

Outdoor Recreation Programs include the following:

  • Structured programs, such as archery, fishing, hunting, paint ball, rappelling, scuba diving, sail boarding, mountain biking and snow skiing
  • Equipment rental, which varies by location but typically includes things like tents, coolers, sleeping bags, stoves, skis, canoes, boats, bicycles, tables and chairs, and yard maintenance equipment

Recreation Centers generally include activities such as Internet cafes, game rooms with video games, billiards, table games and table tennis, television and movie rooms. Depending on the installation, a center may be in a stand-alone building or integrated with another program to meet the needs of the installation.

Single Service Member programs are designed to support the overall quality of life for single service members. Activities offered through the program include:

  • Recreation and sports activities
  • Health and wellness activities
  • Trips and tours
  • Concerts
  • Holiday and special event activities
  • Life skills and career progression
  • Community involvement activities

Outreach Programs offer service members who live in remote locations, including Guard and reserve members, access to quality of life programs, including:

  • YMCA memberships for eligible Title 10 military members at more than 2,000 YMCAs in the United States and Puerto Rico
  • Armed Services YMCA  for eligible family members, especially Guard and reserve families, with recreation programs, summer camps for children and youth, respite care for eligible families and parenting support
  • Online library resources with print, electronic and downloadable information on topics like recreation, lifelong learning and careers
  • Online tutoring services for children at tutor.com

Service branch websites


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