Over the past few years, providing ample recreational and sport opportunities for wounded warriors has been a high priority for the Department of Defense (DoD). The four-day Pennsylvania State University program “Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors,” funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), has already given hundreds of Morale, Welfare and Recreation professionals from all services the opportunity to take part in this invaluable training.
In an effort to build on this knowledge base, in 2011 the Marine Corps brought in Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Geoff Hopkins to help develop a new Marine Semper Fit and Recreation Inclusion Program.
“The overall goal of the program is to provide inclusive opportunities at every one of our facilities, programs and operations throughout the Marine Corps,” says Hopkins. “Inclusive opportunities for people of all abilities to participate and disinteract together with respect — inclusion benefits everyone.”
Dog parks continue to grow in popularity in the military, providing dogs — and their owners — with the perfect destination for some exercise, fun and socializing. As many military installations are proving, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs aren't just for people, but man's best friend as well.
As many dog owners know, a fit dog is a happy, well-behaved dog, and the dog parks featured here each provide opportunities to run and be active. The two dog parks at Fort Benning, Ga., which are managed by Outdoor Recreation, include agility playground equipment for the dogs.
“We have an area set up in the dog park with some obstacles for the dogs to navigate and they love it,” says Fort Benning Outdoor Recreation Manager Brian Guinn.
Benning also runs free Dog Park events, such as Howl-o-Ween, where owners and their dogs come out to trick or trick dressed in their favorite costumes.
“It is a very popular event that we do each year here,” notes Guinn. “The dog parks have been really worthwile and are very beneficial to the Benning community.”