MWR Community Recreation Office Undertakes Innovative Transformation

By: Rachel Autenreith
MWR Marketing
Published in The Bahrain Desert Times on 28 April, 2016

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, Bahrain -- Each week, the Rotator rolls in with fresh newcomers who seemingly feel as though they’ve been given a jail sentence. When asked how they like Bahrain, they typically groan, “There isn’t much to do around here.” At first glance, Bahrain may seem like a boring duty station with too many rules. In reality, the land of the sand is teeming with opportunities.

            With the New Year, Morale, Welfare and Recreation brought a fresh name and image to the former Information, Tickets and Tours office. The Community Recreation Office has replaced ITT and offers the base community a multitude of new services and discounts. The services MWR previously offered at ITT are now just a small part of the mission that defines Navy Community Recreation.

            Navy Community Recreation is an umbrella that encompasses Special Events, Outdoor Recreation Equipment Rental, Deployed Forces Support, Joint Services Travel Program, Tickets and Tours, Party Picnic Support and Recreational Green Spaces. According to the CNIC guidelines, the vision of Navy Community Recreation is to help service members and families find “More Ways to Recreate.”

            The CRO serves the base patrons by providing information, services, equipment and facilities to meet necessary leisure needs and interests. MWR releases monthly calendars of planned tours – such as go-karting, cultural tours, kayaking, and cooking demonstrations - at discounted prices. The CRO can also set up private group trips at the customer’s convenience.

            Community Recreation Director Donald Wells has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to create new offerings through this office. Recently, he has signed contracts with the Art Rotana Resort, Gravity Indoor Skydiving and BISS Marine giving the base community exclusive discounts for unforgettable experiences.

            “Living on an island, I noticed that most of our trips had little to do with water activities, so adding the Art Rotana and BISS seemed like a no brainer,” Wells said. “What's great with the Art Rotana is that we have Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards on site. So you can pay for the rental at the CRO and take your ticket and check in at the Art Rotana. Then you have the full day to enjoy a 5-star resort and use the board as needed. Customers also get a 20% discount at all the restaurants. To make things better, the Art Rotana has a kids areas complete with a playground and a water park where kids 3 and under are free.”

            The new standards make the CRO a one-stop shop when planning Command Quality of Life Events. In the past, all rentals were done through the Outdoor Recreation office in the Banz warehouse. Now you can reserve your rentals at the CRO ahead of time.

“We have almost tripled the amount of Outdoor Recreation rentals by renting them through the CRO,” Wells said. “The new Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards are a huge hit. We have increased the number of monthly tours by 20% and we are able to work as a team to offer more services for both home ported and visiting ships.”

            The newest part of the CRO is travel services through the Joint Services Travel Program. With this addition comes great deals for military members at select resorts and cruise ships around the world. The travel agent can even book lodging for FEML trips. If patrons decide to visit the states, the CRO can provide reduced rate tickets to theme parks such as Disney World and Six Flags using the Military Ticket Program.

“We literally are the one location to help with morale boosting activities for our entire base,” Wells said. “With staff increasing, we are looking forward to becoming the best Community Recreation Program in the Navy.”