FORT KNOX, Ky. – For half a century, the Army Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation has given military Families several ways to make lifelong memories together.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Outdoor Recreation Program this year, Community Program coordinator Christopher Dent said they will be doing something unique to commemorate the occasion.

The Army Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Outdoor Recreation Program in 2021 with a photo contest featuring multiple winners chosen throughout the summer.
The Army Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Outdoor Recreation Program in 2021 with a photo contest featuring multiple winners chosen throughout the summer. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Fort Knox FMWR) VIEW ORIGINAL

“It’s a photo contest,” said Dent, explaining that multiple winners will be chosen from submissions that use the hashtag “#armyodr50” on Instagram. Dent said those who wish to participate must register in person at Fort Knox.

“Come to Sadowski Center and register, we’ll give you swag, then you have to go out and take a picture of yourself with that swag in the outdoors,” said Dent.

Since the contest is Army-wide, photos can be submitted from all over the world.

Registration for the photo contest will open May 1 and run until Aug. 31, with winners announced from the beginning of June through Labor Day. The total number of winners and prizes have not yet been determined.

The Outdoor Recreation Program offers several activities that can be showcased in the contest, while also being taken advantage of by those who appreciate the outdoors.

For 50 years, the Outdoor Recreation Program has offered a variety of guided trips and other activities to include kayaking, backpacking, rafting, outdoor cooking classes, equipment rentals and much more.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – For 50 years, the Outdoor Recreation Program has offered a variety of guided trips and other activities to include kayaking, backpacking, rafting, outdoor cooking classes, equipment rentals and much more. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Fort Knox FMWR) VIEW ORIGINAL
For 50 years, the Outdoor Recreation Program has offered a variety of guided trips and other activities to include kayaking, backpacking, rafting, outdoor cooking classes, equipment rentals and much more.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – For 50 years, the Outdoor Recreation Program has offered a variety of guided trips and other activities to include kayaking, backpacking, rafting, outdoor cooking classes, equipment rentals and much more. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Fort Knox FMWR) VIEW ORIGINAL
For 50 years, the Outdoor Recreation Program has offered a variety of guided trips and other activities to include kayaking, backpacking, rafting, outdoor cooking classes, equipment rentals and much more.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – For 50 years, the Outdoor Recreation Program has offered a variety of guided trips and other activities to include kayaking, backpacking, rafting, outdoor cooking classes, equipment rentals and much more. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Fort Knox FMWR) VIEW ORIGINAL

Dent said this latest initiative has been a game changer, with its success at Fort Knox being in no small part due to the two people currently running the program.

“We’re not just the programmers, we’re the face of the program itself,” said Outdoor Recreation manager Rhett Mendoza, who was the Adventures Program coordinator before that while also serving as a guide.

Debbie Clements currently holds the coordinator position and said after a very successful first year, she’s eager to kick off her 2021 activities -- especially the kayak trips she implemented last summer.

“They were very popular,” said Clements.

Clements explained the Fort Knox MWR offers lower prices than off-post competitors for a kayaking day trip, plus more bang for the buck: “We offer transportation, the food, and the equipment for only $35.”

Mendoza said he and Clements have done a great deal of work scouting many other incredible trips throughout this year’s anniversary season.

“We actually go and experience these trails that we want to go backpacking on, or go see these waterfalls we want to take people to,” said Mendoza. “[We] make sure it’s exactly what we want and it’s going to have a wow factor.”

In addition to guided trips, Mendoza said they also rent equipment.

“We have a whole slew of different rental options,” said Mendoza. “If you don’t want to go on an outdoor trip with us, you can still come rent those items from us and take it out yourself.”

With so much to offer, Clements said the hope is that Families take advantage of their program and gain memories that will last a lifetime at Fort Knox.

“That’s exactly why you should utilize your MWR,” said Clements. “We show you places that you’ve never been.”