FMWR highlights new ODR complex
September 9, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Most big ideas start small. Ben and Jerry's opened their first ice cream parlor in a run-down gas station; the first Macintosh computer was built in a garage; and Wal-Mart began as a five-and-dime store in Arkansas.
Likewise, the idea for a new Outdoor Recreation complex to accommodate the ever-growing population within U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr and the Bavaria Military Community began as a simple sketch drawn sloppily on a restaurant napkin.
Ten years of extensive planning and 10 million dollars later, USAG Grafenwoehr's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will finally realize this new ODR complex when it opens to the public Sept. 24.
Wolfgang Schultes, Outdoor Recreation director for USAG Grafenwoehr's Family and MWR, said the complex would meet the recreational needs of the entire community.
"We have grown in size," said Schultes. "And the needs of the community have grown. This is the answer."
ODR will continue to provide the same services as before -- equipment rentals, outdoor excursions, weekend trips and professional instruction -- but the new complex allows for so much more.
The scope of the complex is impressive.
Located near Dickhaeuter Lake on the Grafenwoehr Training Area just a few minutes from Gate 9 (near the Tower Barracks Shoppette), the 16,000 square-foot ODR complex boasts a bright and welcoming reception area, where customers can rent gear and inquire about various excursions.
The adjoining snack bar and patio invites customers to stick around and enjoy the scenic view. A multipurpose room located in the same building can be rented for receptions, classes and meetings.
Outdoors, children can play on the sensory playground while ballers take to the blacktop. In the wintertime, the basketball court transforms into a hockey and ice-skating rink, allowing year-round activities for the community.
A high-quality indoor climbing hall beckons climbers to navigate multiple routes, each wall containing various levels of difficulty. Outside, adrenaline junkies can climb, negotiate and traverse more than 1,000 feet of obscure obstacles dangling 40 to 80 feet above the ground at the high ropes course.
Additionally, the complex houses rental cabins and a campground fully equipped for a weekend getaway. A boat dock is accessible nearby for water sports and the vast green space allows for picnics and a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
The facility is designed to be a one-stop shop and recreation destination for members of the Bavaria Military Community. It will also provide support for local Soldiers and visiting training units.
Recreation programs have emerged as an integral part of the Soldier resiliency.
The high ropes course has proved tried and true by numerous Soldiers in the past year as part of the Warrior Adventure Quest program - a program that tests the limits and abilities of Soldiers as an alternate form of reintegration.
The mission, to foster unit cohesion, team building and provide reintegration support through recreation, said Schultes, will be easier to fulfill now that the resources are on "home base."
The official opening of the complex is Sept. 24 and will launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Col. James Saenz, USAG Grafenwoehr and BMC commander, around noon.
The Soldier and Leader Information Expo will be held onsite the same day from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Expo invites all Soldiers within the community to tour the facility and inquire about training and recreational opportunities.
The grand opening, coined "Funtober Fest," will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28, from noon-8 p.m. The entire community is invited to tour the complex and participate in outdoor activities throughout the day.
A schedule of events includes a fish fry, gaming zone set up by BOSS and the Warrior Zone, projects by the Arts and Crafts center, library-sponsored reading programs, entertainment by the GPAC Improv Troupe, 3-on-3 basketball and soccer games, and children's entertainment including a jumping castle and face painting.
ODR will provide demonstrations on climbing and the high ropes course, as well as shooting, archery and fishing. Guided tours of the complex will take place throughout the day.