CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Feb. 26, 2020) – The Camp Zama Army Wellness Center held a grand reopening ceremony here Feb. 25 to celebrate moving into a renovated, larger and more centrally located facility.
“It’s been a long journey, about two years, and our previous location is no longer here,” said Shannon Vo, the center’s lead health educator and director, during a speech. “It’s flattened, so now we can just remember where we start today. I want to thank everyone who made this journey possible for us.”
Army Wellness Centers, located at Army installations worldwide, provide programs and services to sustain the health, performance and readiness of the “Total Army.” Health professionals help Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and referred family members with health assessment reviews, physical fitness, nutrition and stress management, as well as wellness and tobacco education.
Col. Tanya Peacock, commander of U.S. Army Medical Department Activity – Japan, thanked several entities within U.S. Army Garrison Japan, the 78th Signal Battalion and MEDDAC-J for their help with the move to Building 379.
“Thank you very much for everything that you did to make this event possible, and then lastly, but certainly not least, thank you very much to the Army Wellness Center staff,” Peacock told the audience. “Your patience and overall effort and what you’ve done, both in the previous building and this one, has not gone unnoticed.”
Staff held the ceremony outside, before a limited audience and in socially distanced seating due to COVID-19 concerns. The ceremony included a ribbon cutting with Vo, Peacock, MEDDAC-J Command Sgt. Maj. Tanya Boudreaux, and U.S. Army Japan Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson.
Chaplain (Capt.) Danny Black, chaplain for the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, provided an invocation.
“We pray that you will use this facility to be an instrument of peace, prevention and education for wellness so that we can maximize our human potential,” Black said.
After the ceremony, Vo and Bree Dalton, a health educator at the facility, provided briefings on the facility’s services and a tour.
In addition to classes that focus on sleep, activity, nutrition and stress, the facility offers body composition measurements with the Bod Pod, metabolic testing and a series of four individual stress management sessions.
Under normal circumstances the facility offers fitness testing, which measures a person’s VO2 max, flexibility, back strength and grip strength, but due to COVID-19 concerns, the facility is not offering that service at this time.
“We’re looking at options to being able to again perform that service for our customers,” Vo said.
In an interview, Stephen Harmon, a health promotion technician at the facility, said the new facility offers several advantages that he is sure customers will appreciate.
For example, the facility’s larger footprint will allow staff to see multiple clients at the same time, Harmon said.
“That was not the case in our old location, given the social-distancing requirements for operating safely in an environment where COVID is a risk,” Harmon said. “This should help our customers be seen more quickly.”
In addition, the larger footprint gives the AWC enough space to set up equipment that was unavailable at the other location, Harmon said.
A massage chair, for example, strengthens the AWC’s stress management program, as well as having a dedicated, relaxing environment to conduct individual stress management education sessions, Harmon said.
AWC staff are also setting up the facility’s Fit Lab again, which includes a treadmill and stationary bicycle, Harmon said, so when fitness testing is available again, staff can do it at the new facility.
Also, the addition of a classroom means staff are able to present classes more frequently and with shorter notice, Harmon said.
Vo said the size of the building and the inclusion of a classroom makes it a “one-stop shop” for unit assessments, classes and briefings.
“I am extremely proud of our new location, and I am excited to see what the new fully functional Army Wellness Center can offer Camp Zama,” Vo said.
Building 379 is located across the street from the Camp Zama post office, near the American Red Cross and East Meets West Gift Shop.