The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department is a system of services designed to promote leisure activities, recreation, and entertainment for members of the Armed Forces. Each branch of the military operates its own network of MWRs at various locations. I recently began an internship at the Whiting Field MWR in Pensacola, Florida. I have only been here a short while, so my involvement in the various departments within this MWR have so far been fairly limited; despite the brief time I have spent here I already feel as if I have benefited from this opportunity. I look forward to exploring all that this MWR has to offer, as it is my goal to gain employment here.
During the first three weeks of my internship I worked in the fitness center. The Whiting Field MWR has extensive exercise facilities, from racquetball courts to weight rooms and equipment to an indoor swimming pool. As an intern I was responsible for such duties as cleaning assigned areas, ensuring that moveable equipment was returned to its proper place, and being at the ready to assist the department staff members and manager. As I carried out my daily tasks it was also necessary to study how the exercise department functions so that I can eventually take on more important roles as the opportunities arise.
After my time in the exercise department I moved right into the Intramural Sports department. I have only been here for a few days at the time of this writing, so I do not yet have the complete picture in terms of how this department operates or what my duties will be. So far I have just helped to gather equipment for several informal softball matches, though I get the impression that there will be a lot more to do once I know my way around a bit more. I will spend a few weeks here before moving on to several other departments.
Based on the schedule I was given my next stop will be the Liberty department. That is the department that arranges off-base excursions, primarily for personnel that live on the base. These outings can involve anything from attending concerts and sporting events to visiting museums or attending military and civilian functions. I am looking forward to my time in Liberty, as I get the impression that the department offers a chance to work and have fun at the same time. The staff and managers in Liberty get to go along on most of their choice of off-campus trips; how could anyone turn down an opportunity like that? While I am in Liberty I will be responsible for driving on various trips, as well as organizing and coordinating several group activities.
From Liberty I move on to Golf; that department is fairly self-explanatory. As an intern I expect that I will do things like caddy and deal with rental equipment. Just as I have done in Fitness and will continue to do, however, I will also work to develop a comprehensive understanding of how the department functions from a managerial perspective. My golf game is nothing special, but I do enjoy playing when I get the chance. It seems as if each department offers opportunities to make working fun and rewarding.
Other departments in which I will intern include Marketing, Admin. Food & Beverage, and Outdoor Adventures. It is that last department that I am most looking forward to working in. I enjoy the outdoors and I like t stay active and be on the move. This weekend I will be attending a day trip to the Florida caverns; I am very excited about that. The Outdoor Adventures department also provides kayaks and canoes for use on the local rivers and lakes and even organizes hiking and camping trips in the neighboring state of Georgia and other locations. Of all the departments at the Whiting Field MWR, it is the OA department that interests me the most.
In each department, the internship program affords me the opportunity to work closely with that department’s manager. It is from these managers that I will learn the operations and details abut the programs offered in each department. After I am familiar with the functions of each department I will be allowed to participate in all department activities.
I am a Physical Education major; as such, I believe my background and educational experience made me a good candidate for this internship program, and will make me a good candidate for employment with MWR in the future. I have an extensive and comprehensive understanding of numerous sports, fitness, and recreational activities. This knowledge base will make me a significant asset to this MWR program after I have completed my degree.
Some people enter internship programs as a means of determining if they have an interest in the field in which they are interning. There is no question that using internships for such purposes can provide a good way to learn about different fields or lines of work. I did not apply for the MWR internship because I wanted to find out if I would like it, or to see if I would be a good fit for the program. I had done enough research to know before I even applied that MWR was where I wanted to work; further, I firmly believe that my experiences, knowledge, and character make me well-suited for a managerial position with MWR.
Because I already had a general idea that MWR would be a good fit for me before I began my internship, the goals I set for myself here are more specific than simply trying to determine if I will like it here. During the course of my internship I intend to go into each department with an open mind, and to give each department my best efforts during my time there. I further intend to learn as much as I can about how each department operates so that no matter which department I end up in I will be able to make a valuable contribution.
Once I have explored the various departments I intend to narrow the list down to one or two departments that I like the most and in which I believe I could make the greatest contribution. I have already decided that I want to seek employment at MWR after I complete school; at this point it is just a matter of deciding which department is best for me and then finding and applying for openings whatever openings I can find on this or another base.
The MWR department offers a great opportunity to build a career. The program has excellent benefits, and it appears as if working for MWR would help to promote an active, healthy lifestyle. I still have some time to go before graduation, but I am already trying to get real-world experience and make contacts that will aid me in my future search for appropriate openings at an MWR facility.
Above all else, what I believe MWR offers is the chance to provide a good life for myself and my son. He is the most important thing in the world to me, and I believe that I owe it to him to be healthy and happy so that I can best provide for his needs now and in the future. Working for MWR would be a job I would be proud of, and there would be nothing greater in the world than making my son proud of me.