Fort McCoy News Oct. 27, 2017

DFMWR: Supporting troops, taking care of Family

BY AIMEE MALONE
Public Affairs Staff

A lot of pieces go into supporting Fort McCoy's busy summer training season and the accompanying exercises, as well as training throughout the year.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (DFMWR) does its part, too, working to keep service members' morale high by providing opportunities for good food and fun.

"The key components for MWR's involvement is at the tail end of the exercise when (service members) have recreation time," said DFMWR Director Patric McGuane. "We're the fun part, the slice of home, where they get some different kinds of meals and get off the MREs."

Personnel with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation serve Fort McCoy community members a meal during the annual Army Birthday Celebration on June 14 at McCoy’s Community Center.
Personnel with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and
Recreation serve Fort McCoy community members a meal during the
annual Army Birthday Celebration on June 14 at McCoy's Community
Center.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

McGuane said they try to plan activities based on when the Soldiers are likely to have a chance to attend them.

"We tried a couple of new things this year," he said. "We started trivia at McCoy's on Mondays, which was really popular in August. We had a beer expo that was fantastic. We had 60-some troops come out and take part in that."

One of the biggest events of the summer is the annual Army Concert.

The genre varies from year to year, but it always features world-famous musical talent. While a lot of factors go into deciding the date of the concert, including the artist's schedule, McGuane said Fort McCoy always selects dates when a high volume of troops are scheduled to be on post.

DFMWR staff members also plan more food specials for the summer months, and McGuane said they're working on expanding their souvenir options for Soldiers to take home something for themselves or their loved ones. McCoy's Community Center also offers WiFi, a lending library, video game and movie rentals, and bowling.

"We're always looking for something to entertain them while we have them here in our facilities," he said.

"We want to make sure that once your training's done, you actually liked being here, too. It wasn't just getting your work done, but you were treated pretty well once you got done with work, too."

Another big component of DFMWR's work during the summer season is distributing unit funds to troops training at Fort McCoy. These funds help units plan recreational events for their Soldiers, promoting teambuilding and allowing them to wind down after training.

"While (the units) are here for AT (annual training), they can come and get $1 per Soldier to help support any morale, welfare, and recreation event they have," said Christy Stelzner, administrative assistant with DFMWR.

Fort McCoy community members participate in the ‘Build a Bird Feeder’ workshop Sept. 30 at the Army Community Service Family Building. Events such as this workshop are designed so entire Families can participate. Army Community Service is part of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Fort McCoy community members participate in the
"Build a Bird Feeder" workshop Sept. 30 at the Army
Community Service Family Building. Events such as this
workshop are designed so entire Families can participate.
Army Community Service is part of the Directorate of
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Photo by
Lorie Retzlaff

On average, DFMWR provides about $11,000 per year to Soldiers training at Fort McCoy for morale events.

"Any unit that's here for annual training is authorized those funds," Stelzner said. "It's not there to cover the whole event, but it helps offset the cost."

The DFMWR team has put together packages to offer easy options to units, such as pizza or bowling parties at McCoy's Community Center. Barbecues are also popular options, and DFMWR rents both pavilions and grills to interested units. A lot of units will rent a pavilion at Pine View Campground and take advantage of the recreation areas for their events.

"Christy and Kaleen do a very good job of recommending to them where to go or what to do and the points of contact for all the activities," said Mark Siple, chief of Management Support Services.

"It's always fun to hand out money," Stelzner said.

Siple said that the sooner a unit contacts DFMWR upon arrival, the easier it is to get the funds and help plan events.

"If they know in advance to check in right away, then they can get the paperwork right away to fill out, and then they get our packages right away so they have a few days to coordinate," Siple said.

Talking to the unit funds team early on also helps DFMWR staff prepare, making it more likely for a unit to get what it wants.

"(McCoy's) doesn't always have food for 300, and maybe you can't do three events (in one day)," Siple said. But if staff members have a week to plan, they can order extra food and schedule staff to handle the extra numbers.

Getting the right number of staff for summer activities and business levels is a challenge throughout DFMWR, McGuane said.

"The planning part of that is huge for us because it's about getting the staffing right. Obviously, none of this stuff happens unless you have the right number of people," he said. "And so the recruiting for us starts back in the winter when we're trying to get into job fairs and bring people in and make sure that we're ready for the (summer) surge. … You'll notice the lines are long, but we move through them pretty quickly at all of our facilities.

"It's the same at the fitness center. You have to make sure you have enough people to do classes and take care of the equipment and teach people to train on them properly," McGuane said.

The Child and Youth Services' School-Age Center/Youth Center's summer camp program also accommodates higher numbers because of the training surge.

While most of the youth who attend the camp are Family members of Soldiers permanently stationed at Fort McCoy, some have parents stationed at Fort McCoy for long-term temporary duty assignments.

McGuane said the DFMWR team keeps extremely busy throughout the summer, but they're very proud of their work.

"We have a very motivated team," McGuane said. "They're tired, but they're very happy and it was a really good summer."

For more information about DFMWR events and services, call 608-388-7400.