MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Throughout Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune are scattered countless barracks, each room occupied by two to three Marines, some of which don’t have vehicles. To try and visit an amusement park, big city or just get out and interact outside of the base may require days or weeks of planning.
However, another option is offered to these Marines; the Single Marine Program. The program offers a wide variety of options for Marines to choose from, such as spending their time volunteering their services at various locations or just getting together with peers and visiting far-off locations and even going on cruises.
“Our overall goal is to raise morale and well-being,” said Susan Goodrich, the director of the Single Marine Program, Marine Corps Community Services, MCB Camp Lejeune. “Through council meetings that occur every month we see what the Marines want and we try to meet their needs.”
Trips are always something Marines look forward to. They are not just to nearby towns or museums, but faraway places that would be difficult to travel to on one’s own. Such locations include Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and even New York City.
“We’ve gone to Disney World and even taken a trip to the Bahamas just recently,” said Goodrich. “We don’t hold their hands during the trips either – once we get there we just let them do their own thing.”
Marines are still briefed and have to check in for accountability, but aside from that they are let loose. Additionally, the trips that are offered may require a cost, but the price is one that is substantially lower than if a service member had paid for the trip on their own.
However, traveling is not the only thing that the Single Marine Program offers to all single service members. The program also gives them an opportunity to give back to the community.
Service members can volunteer at organizations that are also associated with the SMP. Places that Marines and sailors can volunteer at include nursing homes, Special Olympics events and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, Marines may at times help nursing homes celebrate occasions like Valentine’s Day.
“We keep track of all the hours that they log in through community service,” said Goodrich. “After they have reached a certain amount of hours we award them with a certificate, which can then help them with their promotions when their commands see that they take time out of their lives to give back to the community.”
SMP is also in charge of all the recreation centers aboard MCB Camp Lejeune and surrounding installations. The recreation centers also host many events throughout the year that encourage Marines to interact with each other. Events include poker games, video game contests and karaoke. For those who do not have a competitive nature, the recreation centers also offer cookouts.
The SMP has their own web page at the MCCS website which shows what is on the schedule for that month and also upcoming events. Everything from field trips to meetings are included in the calendar.
For more information about the Single Marine Program visit, www.mccslejeune.com/smp.