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About Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) and Family Programs


Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) is a name that covers many different programs. Though we usually think of MWR as the bowling alley or unit fund money, this term applies to Army Community Service, youth services, family programs, and outdoor recreation programs. Do you like to fish, work out, travel, play sports, act in plays, or coach? Or do your like relaxing, watching the big game on TV, hanging out with friends and eating hot pizza? Or maybe you’re a golfer, bowler, swimmer, racquetball player, skier or snowboarder. Most importantly, you want your family taken care of when you’re deployed. You want your children to have fun, yet be safe and supervised. Lastly, you want to be heard if you have issues or concerns about your life in the Army.

The US Army Community and Family Support Center, Headquarters, Department of the Army agency, delivers more than 200 Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and family programs through a worldwide 37,000-member workforce, including those stationed in the Balkans and the Middle East to serve deployed troops. Commanders regard MWR as a readiness multiplier that keeps soldiers physically fit, fosters healthy families, reduces stress, builds skills and self-confidence, and creates esprit de corps. The MWR philosophy is that soldier’s and their families are entitled to the same quality of life as the Americans they pledge to defend.

Child and youth services (CYS) programs reduce the conflict between mission and parental responsibilities. Basic CYS programs are child development centers, family child care home systems, before and after-school programs, school liaison and school transition services, youth sports and fitness programs and partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs and 4-H Clubs. Services are provided year-round and include full-day, part day, after school, hourly, special needs, seasonal, supervised programs and care options. Congress and the White House recognize the military childcare system as a “model for the Nation.”

Individual and team sports for men and women include basketball, soccer, volleyball, rugby, softball, and martial arts. At gymnasiums, certified instructors conduct aerobics for cardiovascular fitness and supervise strength training with weights. Recreation centers offer a variety of social activities, games (table tennis, billiards), classes, and meeting space. Army libraries provide books, magazines, electronic information resources, and professional reference services for academics and recreation reading. Army libraries send book kits to remote and isolated sites as well as to deployed soldiers.

Outdoor recreations (OR) opportunities vary by geographic location, climate, and demand. They range from high-challenge activities such as ropes courses, mountain climbing, and rappelling to extreme sports such as snowboarding, para gliding, and windsurfing. Many installations have forests, parks, rivers, and lakes that invite fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, and boating. Need equipment? Rent it from Outdoor Recreation.

Arts and crafts centers are outlets for creativity and are moneysavers. Trained staff members ensure safe use of tools and equipment. At automotive craft shops, you can change your car’s oil or change a motor. The centers offer tools, bays, classes, and assistance available for nominal fees. Outlets for creative expression in the performing arts include music and theater events such as Battle of the Bands, one-act play festivals, the US Army Soldier Show, community theater, entertainment contests and chart topping celebrity performers who stage concert at installations.

Sports bars, casual dining restaurants, fast food outlets, and community clubs offer ethnic and traditional foods as well as nightlife on post. Military members enjoy significant discounts at many major amusement parks, resorts, and attractions. For more information, visit The Army operates four Armed Forces recreation centers: Disney World (Orlando, Fla.), Garmisch/Chiemsee (Bavaria, Germany), Waikiki Beach (Hale Koa Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii), and Dragon Hill Lodge (Seoul, Korea).

Expect to pay fees and charges for MWR and family programs; profits are reinvested locally in MWR programs. A percentage of profits from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) are used to fund MWR programs. When you shop at AAFES and patronize MWR, you help sustain these programs for the future. MWR programs are for all soldiers and families: active duty, reserve components and retirees, married and single, living on post or off. For additional information, visit the MWR website at

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