Live by the hashtag, die by the hashtag

#betteratbenning
By Al Gelineau, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director /

Last week, we launched a rather bodacious campaign called Life is Better at Benning. You read about it right here in the Bayonet and Saber. You’ve probably noticed the hashtag #betteratbenning all across post and social media. We, the Fort Benning collective, decided to take a proactive – some might say aggressive – approach to share the good news about life as we know it here on the greatest Army installation in the world. We do so with complete confidence. We will stand behind that hashtag.

We will also use this campaign to combat misconceptions and the negativity that prevails in the digital universe, not specific to Fort Benning, but to military life anywhere and everywhere.

As Soldiers and military Family members, you have tough lives. It’s easy to forget when you live in neighborhoods where every house is populated with a family who speaks your language, using words and terms and acronyms foreign to most of our off-post neighbors, that you’re actually part of a very small population. You are a rare breed.

And here at Fort Benning, you have the most understanding and appreciative support system in the world, including a team of nearly 900 MWR employees, who prove to me every day that their dedication to the health and welfare of your families is their first priority.

As an Army brat myself, and after more than three decades with MWR, I think I have a very broad perspective of life across the Army, and I can tell you life is better at Benning, and we’ll prove it.

Fort Benning’s Family and MWR offers an unequaled network of programs, facilities and events for you and your whole family, from financial assistance to resort vacations and everything in between. Our Army Community Service division includes a great variety of programs to help your family grow and thrive during your tour at Fort Benning, including classes, counseling, volunteer and employment opportunities, and so much more. Child, Youth and School Services provides a variety of child care options, sports and recreation for the kids, and a great variety of classes and camps.

Those popular recreation facilities, like the Family Entertainment Center, Bowling and Bingo, the Benning Club, the Brew Pub, Java Cafes and our new Zaxby’s on Main post – those belong to our Business Division, as do our resorts at Uchee Creek and Destin, Florida.

Our Community Recreation Division pulls a mighty big load. Aside from our fitness centers, pools, parks and ponds, special events like concerts and festivals, special services like Tickets & Travel, our car washes and Auto Skills Center, the CRD also ‘owns’ our Recreational Shooting Complex and Outdoor Recreation. They do yeoman’s work.

In fact, the folks at CRD are working fast and furiously now to make this year’s Independence Celebration the biggest and best one ever. It starts with a carnival Friday and continues Saturday with concerts, free games and inflatables for the kids, Ranger and Airborne demonstrations, great food and the biggest fireworks show in the Southeast. You will find details and a schedule of events at benningmwr.com/. When all is said and done, I think you’ll agree Independence Day celebrations are definitely #bettertatbenning.

I also encourage you to join the conversation on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BenningFMWRfans/. More than 30,000 of your friends and neighbors make our page a fun and interesting place to hang out. If you’ve never attended a Newcomers’ Orientation, please do so now, no matter how long you’ve lived here. We host them from 9 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday at Army Community Service Headquarters in Building 7. Bring the Family. Breakfast is on us.

Whether you’re new to Fort Benning or not, we’re glad you’re here, and we think you will be too. Stay with us over the next few months as this campaign evolves and we find new ways to share with you that life really is better at Benning.

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