MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — For many Marines and Sailors, the Single Marine Program gives them a great opportunity to get out of the barracks, explore the area around their duty station and make new friends. Whether it’s by participating in the many volunteering opportunities they offer, or going to one of the numerous sponsored events they hold on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, there’s something for everyone at the SMP.
“It motivates me to see these Marines and Sailors working so hard during their work days and giving what little free time they have to participate in the community to make it better,” said Jen Merlo, the SMP coordinator for MCAS Cherry Point
The SMP fosters personal and professional growth in Marines and Sailors through quality of life advocacy and recreational activities. A few activities they provide at their headquarters, the Roadhouse, are a video game room, library and a movie room. Additionally, for service members interested in giving back to the community, the SMP offers several volunteer opportunities through a number of organizations and community events such as Rocktoberfest and Trunk or Treat.
“We literally do a hundred volunteer opportunities throughout the year.” said Jen Merlo, the SMP coordinator for MCAS Cherry Point. “We do everything from animal shelters, Habitat for Humanity and Autocross.”
The SMP also helps to enhance total force readiness by providing Marines and Sailors with opportunities to develop life skills, improve their general health, resilience and morale while empowering SMP leaders to serve as advocates for their units and peers. The SMP has a council made up of representatives from every unit across MCAS Cherry Point who come together monthly to discuss the quality of life of Marines in their units and how they can improve it. They also present new ideas for volunteer opportunities and events for the SMP.
“Being vice president for the SMP council is a blessing,” said Cpl. Donatien Lake, an aviation operations specialist assigned to Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron. “There is so much out there and I feel that being a part of the council allows me to learn and teach toward that personal and professional development.”
The SMP brings out hard working and productive individuals who, through their participation, maintain and improve the quality of life on base for Marines and Sailors. They also help the air station maintain a strong relationship with the communities surrounding it.
This article by Sgt. Christian Lopez was originally published by the Marine Corps News Service on December 27.
Feature photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Tanner D. Lamber, U.S. Marine Corps