Photo taken August 2018 in Disneyland's California Adventure park, by Briana Hartzell
"What are we going to do today mom? Mom? Mom? Mommomomoom MOOOOOM! "
I love summer. I relish the relaxed schedules and do not miss the rigor of school mornings, but the dreaded questions from a sweet little face at 6:30am still remains, “what are we going to do today”. In order to avoid the dreaded B word (bored is banned in my house) and to help us all have something to look forward to, we plan at least one fun outing in the summer. We can do this and still stick with a budget by utilizing the Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and the Information, Tickets and Travel (ITT) office . Active duty military personnel (U.S. and NATO), their families and guests, reservists, retired military personnel, DoD civilian employees and their family members, and DoD contracted employees may all take advantage of MWR services, programs and facilities.
Information, Tickets and Travel (ITT): ITT offices serve as a resource for local, national and international leisure travel activities (think Disney!). It is a place to go to find out what’s happening in your local community and to purchase event tickets at discounted prices. Most of them have Facebook pages, be sure to do a search for your local installation.
Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR): Think of MWR as the activity coordinators on your post. They plan and manage bowling centers, golf courses, libraries, pools, outdoor recreation, recreation centers, youth centers activities and more. The MWR program at your installation most likely has a Facebook page too, maybe even an Instagram page. Connect with them online to learn what is happening on your base.
Did you know you can even rent bounce houses, water slides and table and chairs there? For the prices they offer, you can throw an epic summer block party (or birthday party) instead of heading on a trip. My family has utilized them for discounted Disneyland Tickets last summer and discount passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium this summer, but they offer so much more!
In search of more ideas to have some summer fun on a budget, I asked fellow military spouses about their favorite ways to utilize MWR and ITT. Here are their suggestions:
Caroline: I love renting skis and poles there and heading to Tahoe! So much cheaper than renting gear in Tahoe!
Gayle: Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) is a great place to rent campers, jet skis, gear, generators and all sorts of other stuff.
Christine: Go on the tours they offer. Bus trips are great.
Nicole: Renting the A liner camper
Wendy: We found of all three installations near us, JBSA Lackland had the most updated ITT Facebook page. They highlighted information on Florida theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. We were able to purchase discounted tickets ahead of our trip. It’s so nice knowing that detail is taken care of before we even get to Orlando.
Visit your local MWR and ITT websites for local ideas and deals, or take a quick stop into their offices. I have found them to be very helpful in assisting me to narrow down hotel choices, picking the length of skis needed for the kids and answering all my questions!
Have you utilized your MWR or ITT? Please share in the comments. Happy Summer!
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (5 and 3 years), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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