If you live near the Naval Base in Bremerton, Washington, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia, or the Naval Station in San Diego, California, keep an eye out for longer hours at the child care centers, youth facilities, and fitness centers. The exact facilities with the longer hours will depend on your location.
According to James Baker, division chief for Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) at the Navy Installations Command, "The pilot program in Bremerton will include extended hours for Child Youth Programs at the Child Development Center and the fitness center. The pilot will also include extended hours at fitness centers at Little Creek and in San Diego."
The purpose of this six month trial is to determine whether the extended hours are utilized by military service members and their families. Usage and staffing requirements will be measured to determine whether the longer hours are used enough to justify the increased payroll costs. If the test period shows that the facilities are used by enough people, then the program will grow to include more bases over time.
In Bremerton, the child and youth programs facilities will add an extra two hours to each end of the operating day, opening at 4 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m.
At all three test locations, the fitness center hours will add 28 hours each week, opening at 4 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Extended hours for childcare is a recurrent request from military service members, and I hope that those who use the child and youth programs in Bremerton will have the opportunity to use the longer hours. Well, I don't actually hope that as I wish that everyone could work reasonable hours, but I also recognize that is not the case. I do have some questions about how people would give up other arrangements just to use the base child care if they don't have any guarantee that the longer hours will continue after the test period.
The extended gym hours are of particular interest to me, as I am forever turning up at the fitness center shortly before closing, especially on the weekends. As fitness is a priority, I have always thought that fitness hours should be longer. When I was a newlywed, our local base gym was open nearly 24 hours a day, and it was not uncommon for me to pop in after a late night at work. Those long hours were the only reason I was able to maintain a consistent gym schedule.
If you live near one of these bases with extended fitness center hours, take advantage of this six month test to squeeze in a few extra workouts and show the Navy that they should extend hours at all fitness facilities!