ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, READ!
Morale, Welfare and Recreation develops all kinds of enrichment programs to support force readiness and military community. One such program is the Department of Defense-MWR Summer Reading Program (ila.org/dodsumread). The program's theme this year is "Reading Takes You Everywhere." Reading fosters the imagination and can open a window to the world. New and exciting activities include crafts, STEM events, recommended reading lists, incentives, films and more for children, teens and parents. Enroll in this year's summer reading program and help your child explore, discover and experience new people, places and things.
ENCOURAGE SUMMER READING
The mission of the Department of DefenseMWR summer reading program, through a contract with the Illinois Library Association iREAD Reading Programs, is to provide the resources and experiences to bridge the summer gap, while inspiring literacy and life-long learning. The benefits of summer reading are clear:
• National research finds that students who participate in the library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievements tests at the beginning of the next school year than those who did not participate.
• Avid readers of all backgrounds are higher achievers than students who seldom read.
• Skillful, critical and prolific reading is one of the most important personal habits that leads to a successful academic career and happy, productive life.
Plus, reading is fun for the whole family. Reading can lead to priceless conversations, spur a child's imagination and inspire young readers to explore creativity and design new worlds. Sign up for the Summer Reading Program: contact your local Morale, Welfare and Recreation (militaryinstallations.dod.mil/MOS/f?p=MI:ENTRY:0) installation library.
EXPLORE YOUR INSTALLATION LIBRARY
The Department of Defense and MWR oversees the management of 207 libraries (militaryonesource.mil/-/explore-the-library) on military installations, which provide much more than aisles of books. Check your installation library to see what events are offered. These could include activities, graphics, crafts, reading lists, incentives, films, and more for children, teens and parents. Discover what's in your installation library.
TAP INTO THE MWR DIGITAL LIBRARY
If you're a member of the National Guard or reserve or don't have access to a local installation library, you can still participate in the Summer Reading Program virtually. Learn more at dodvirtualsrp.beanstack.org/reader365. The MWR Digital Library (militaryonesource.mil/-/morale-welfare-and-recreation-digital-libra-1) can help you support your summer reading goals, giving service members and families access to eBooks, audio books, digital magazines, genealogy resources, digital newspapers, journals, tutoring services and more. The digital library service is a particularly helpful benefit for those military families who may not have access to installation libraries.The digital library service is available through your service branch:
• Army digital library (A library account is required to access digital resources.) mwrlibrary.armybiznet.com
• Marine Corps digital library mccs.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default
• Navy digital library navymwr.org/libraries
• Air Force digital library myairforcelife.com/libraries
Visit the following links to learn more about the MWR Digital Library and other library and reading resources:
• Department of Defense - MWR Summer Reading Program ila.org/dodsumread
• Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library militaryonesource.mil/-/morale-welfare-and-recreation-digital-libra
• DoD MWR Library Resources militaryonesourceconnect.org achievesolutions/en/militaryonesource/Content.do?contentId=27777
• From Audiobooks to Academic Research, the Digital Library Has It militaryonesource.mil/-/from-audiobooks-to-academic-research-the- digital-library-has-it
• Explore the Library militaryonesource.mil/-/explore-the-library
• Libraries – the Essentials militaryonesource.mil/-/libraries-the-essentials
VACATION FIRST CLASS USING MILITARY LODGING
You've worked hard and it's WESTERN UNITED STATES time to enjoy a little R&R. Military families are eligible to use military lodging around the world, ranging from cottages on the beach to world-class resorts or recreational lodging facilities. You have many options and destinations include popular resort towns, big cities, oceanfront getaways, mountain retreats top and overseas locales.
WHERE CAN I GO?
No matter where the military sends you, a military lodging facility can help you vacation in style. Sometimes the toughest part of planning a vacation is deciding where to go. If you want some inspiration, here's just a sampling of what you can find around the world.
EASTERN UNITED STATES
• Shades of Green Resort, located at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and operated by the Army, offers all the perks of a Disney resort. Purchase your Disney tickets, and then book your Shades of Green room by calling 888593-2242. shadesofgreen.org
• Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area near Cape Fear, North Carolina, offers beach cottages and a lodge. Call 910-4586549 for details. ftfishermilrec.com
• The Coast Guard maintains coastal cabins across the country. Enjoy a summer stay on Cape Cod or one of many other options. Cabins are available to all active-duty service members, their families, reservists and retirees. Learn more at dcms.uscg.mil/Our- Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-HumanResources-CG-1/Community-Services-CommandCSC/MWR/Coast-Guard-Lodging/
WESTERN UNITED STATES
• Seward Resort in Alaska is open yearround to military families. Call 800770-1858 to make a reservation. sewardresort.com
• The Marine Corps' Big Bear Recreation Facility is near ski resorts in Big Bear, California. In the off-season, it offers mountain biking, hiking and fishing. Call 858-577-4126 or visit mccsmiramar.com/big-bear-cabins
• Waikiki Beach in Hawaii is home to the Hale Koa Hotel, operated by the Army. Reservations may be made up to a year in advance. Call 800-367-6027. halekoa.com
• Kilauea Military Camp is a joint services recreation center in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It offers mountain cottages and scenic tours. Call 808967-7315. kilaueamilitarycamp.com
CENTRAL UNITED STATES
• The Army's Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area in Missouri features lakefront cabins and motel rooms with boat and Jet Ski rentals. Call 573-3465640 to reserve your space. leonard- wood.armymwr.com/us/leonardwood/programs/lake- ozarks-recreation-area-lora ASIA
• In Japan, the Okinawa Okuma Joint Services Recreation Center offers log cabins, hotel rooms, campgrounds and a number of activities. kadenafss.com/okuma
• The Dragon Hill Lodge is a first-class hotel in Seoul, South Korea, with resort amenities and shopping nearby. Visit Dragon Hill Lodge for more information. dragonhilllodge
• The New Sanno Hotel is a joint services facility operated by the Navy in the heart of Tokyo. Visit New Sanno Hotel for more details. thenewsanno.com
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
• Active-duty service members
• Military family members
• Military retirees
• National Guard and reserve members
• National Guard and reserve membe
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
• Some military lodging properties fill up fast, so do your research and make reservations as early as you can. Reservations requirements vary by facility and duty status
• Some military lodging facilities give priority to active-duty military members and orders, but not to leisure travelers. Rules vary by service branch and lodging facility.
• Pet policies may vary. If you plan to travel with your pets, make sure furry guests are welcome before you book. Mailing addresses are sometimes listed on military lodging websites or brochures. Request a GPS-friendly address when you make your reservation to help you reach your destination.
HOW DO I PLAN MY GETAWAY?
• Do your research first. Make sure your destination is available.
• Take a look at all of your exciting options. Visit Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation (armymwr.com), Marine Corps Community Services (usmc- mccs.org/services/lodging/recreation-lodging), Navy Gateway Inns & Suites (ngis.dodlodging.net) and Air Force Services (af.dodlodging.net).
• Book as early as you can – especially if you want to vacation during peak travel times – to make sure popular destinations have openings. Keep in mind some facilities prioritize reservations by branch of service, duty station or status.
Eligibility and reservation requirements vary from one facility to the next. Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to learn more about your destination of choice. You can also use your Morale, Welfare and Recreation and installation resources to plan your getaway. Visit your Information, Tickets and Travel (militaryonesource.mil/-/information-tickets-and- travel-your-key-to-fun) office to learn where you can enjoy military discounts and entertainment.
In the Trees
I'm learning that sometimes we need to be reminded that if we protect our children too much and we hold on too tight, we hinder their progress. I'm grateful that James convinced Mark and me to let Broden go.
"Broden, take a step when you're ready." While hooked on to a line in the trees, Broden took his first step on the obstacle course while grabbing a hold of the support lines next to him. He continued to take another step, then another. Broden did not hesitate. He had been watching from the ground for three years and he was ready, even though we, his parents, were questioning if we were pushing him too far and setting him up for failure.
Last month was Broden's twelfth birthday. Since we have been at Fort Benning, we've taken the boys to Callaway Gardens to hike and to visit the Butterfly Pavilion. Broden's favorite part of Callaway is Treetop Adventures, a series of obstacles in the trees laced with opportunities to zip line. Broden enjoys walking along the path in the woods while stopping to watch people meander above him as they work their way through each obstacle and then zip lining to the adja cent tree. Most of the time, our family is prodding Broden to keep up the pace during a walk, but walking under the Treetop Adventures, we are usually trying to keep up with him. With this being our last year at Fort Benning, Mark and I decided to see if Broden could give it a try. We called ahead to see if there were opportunities to modify the course due to his severity on the spectrum. The staff told us to bring him to Treetop Adventures to see what he can do. My parents were here visiting for his birthday and they could tell Mark and I were uneasy that morning. We were taking a leap of faith, faith in the staff at Callaway Gardens and also faith that Broden would be fearless.
Before I could weigh the pros and cons of whether to let him try the big course, Mark looked over at me and said, "We're going." My mom and I looked at each other and gasped, "He's doing it. He's really doing it."
Once we arrived, the staff was reminded of our phone call the day before and that Broden would need quite a bit of assistance. Mark, Hayden, and my father decided to do the adventure with Broden in the hopes of encouraging him through it. My father said, "I don't feel right about encouraging the boys to do this, unless I do it too." My mother and I decided to stay on the ground to document with video and pictures and quietly agreed to one another that it was better they go, than us. The closer we got to the obstacles, the more intimidating the obstacles became.
The briefing started after they were given their harnesses and gear. While explaining to the group how to zip line and use their gear, the briefer said "Everyone should go through each obstacle individually." Mark looked back at me and shook his head while I shook my head back at him. We decided at that moment we were pushing Broden too far. When the briefing was over and the group did a test run through the zip line, Mark went over to the supervisor, James, and explained to him that this was probably not a good fit for Broden.
After the rest of the group climbed into the trees to start the obstacles, James encouraged Mark to let Broden try the "test zip line" on his own. Once Broden was hooked in and told to let his body relax in the harness, he started to scream. His scream caused the rest of the staff to run towards the test line. A staff member approached me and said, "I'm the one who you spoke with yesterday."
She could tell I was nervous as I tried to convince her that this was not going to work. She said, "Ma'am, James knows what to do. Don't worry."
After Mark spoke with James, he ran over to me and said, "James assured me he's going to get Broden through this course." I was skeptical until I watched James and how calm he was with Broden. James pulled out some more equipment and hooked it up to the line. He asked, "Broden can you sit on my knee?" Broden complied and sat on his knee while James zip lined with him to the other tree." Broden had his arms out stimming while he squealed with delight.
stimming while he squealed with delight. Before I could weigh the pros and cons of whether to let him try the big course, Mark looked over at me and said, "We're going." My mom and I looked at each other and then stared at them as they climbed up the ladder into the tree. My mom opened her mouth and gasped, "He's doing it. He's really doing it." For each obstacle, James would start with asking Broden, "Are you ready?" and then Broden would stretch his foot out ready to be challenged once again.
I'm learning that sometimes we need After the rest of the group climbed into the trees to start the obstacles, James encouraged Mark to let Broden try the "test zip line" on his own. Once Broden was hooked in and told to let his body relax in the harness, he started to scream. His scream caused the rest of the staff to run towards the test line. A staff member approached me and said, "I'm the one who you spoke with yesterday." to be reminded that if we protect our children too much and we hold on too tight, we hinder their progress. I'm grateful that James convinced Mark and me to let Broden go. Our fear of him not making it through was causing us to hold on too tight because we want to keep him safe and for him to not experience fear. Maybe that is what is so difficult for parents. We want our kids to succeed and know they can do whatever they set their mind to, but we also don't want our children to experience fear and hardship. That day, we let go and Broden did it. Instead of walking under the tree tops that day, he was the one in the trees, looking down on everyone else. •