“Customer-First” Attitudes

Attractions at Newman and Tominac fitness centers include child care, aerobics and aquatics programs (including water aerobics and scuba-diving lessons), the latest in equipment and availability of certified personal trainers.

Smooth Operator juice bars, stocked with nutritional energy drinks and other refreshments, are popular in both fitness centers. Informational kiosks, where customers can input their ICE comments or find out about various activities or programs with the push of a button, also are popular.

Newman Fitness Center director Jake Battle says he hears positive feedback about the variety of equipment and programs at Newman. “It helps to have more machines so they can have more variety in their workouts, and it gives them more flexibility in their workouts,” Battle says. “Aerobics is one of the major family support programs here at Fort Stewart.”

The juice bar area at Newman is very popular as well, Battle says. “You have the Wi-Fi system in here, and they can bring their laptops and sit at the tables and work on their computers while they have a cup of Starbucks coffee, or have a protein drink and relax. In between their workouts, they can refuel, get their protein. It is readily available for them, and it is convenient.”

Cutchens says expanding the child-care area was one of the “best changes” made at Newman. Child-care also is an important service at the Hunter facility.

The Stewart-Hunter recreation system managers and staff pay close attention to evolving customer needs, Cutchens says. That’s where the Recreation Delivery Team comes in.

The team is composed of recreation specialist programmers from different areas of MWR–Army Community Service, Child, Youth & School Services, business, special events and recreation.

“We work as a team instead of individually,” Cutchens says. “It [the team] puts our experts together once a week to go over the programming in MWR, and see if the programs are popular, if soldiers and their families are participating in them, and whether they need to change. That’s what it is all about.

“It’s a constant revolving door to see what programs are popular. And we track them. The team works with an 18-month calendar, so it tries to stay ahead in the program. That’s the way we can revisit a program to see if it’s hitting the target market. If it’s not, we can go back to the drawing board.”

On The Horizon

What’s ahead for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield? Cutchens cites three projects:

· A 65,000-square-foot physical fitness center with indoor pool, to be constructed during FY 2009 in support of Grow the Army for the new brigade being created on the installation. The center is located about four miles from the main cantonment area on Fort Stewart.

· A complete renovation and new equipment for Caro Fitness Center on Fort Stewart

· Work on the outdoor sports fields, with the turf, the fencing and the scoreboards, “to get those fields back up to a high standard. We’d like to have all those amenities, and that’s next on our priority list,” Cutchens says.

Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Sports Director Perry Yawn told a story that points to the personal satisfaction MWR staffers receive in serving the soldiers. He described how a sergeant who had just returned from Iraq came to the sports office the very next day to find out what he had to do to resume the coaching duties he performed before deployment.

“Here is someone who has been fighting for his country,” Yawn says, “and the first thing he does the next day after he comes back home is to come to see you about the sports. That speaks … that speaks to how he really appreciated that program.”

Bob Mathews, who retired after 30 years as a newspaper editor and writer, joined the Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation in July 2008, and became a MWR Marketing Publicity Specialist.

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