FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The men and women of the uniformed services are the backbone of the freedom we hold so dear in the United States. Many times the Families of these Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors are the covert heroes providing courage and support to their loved ones while asking for little in return. Morale, Welfare and Recreation continues to recognize the ongoing sacrifices the Families make while supporting their servicemembers during these times of uncertainty. The Army Family Covenant draws attention to the devotion and courage of our Soldiers as well as the Family that supports them.

In the fall of 2007, the Army chief of staff approved to increase funding for the programs and services offered through MWR. This initiative is known as the Army Family Covenant. Shortly thereafter, installations Army wide held signing ceremonies to demonstrate their support of the covenant. The primary goal of the covenant is to provide Soldiers and their Families with a quality of life commensurate with their service.

The initiative as a whole provides guidelines on enhanced programs and services to be offered to Families - especially those Families of deployed Soldiers. The program extends beyond MWR programs and services to include healthcare and housing. However, two of the five commitments to improvement are ensuring excellence in youth services and child care and standardizing and funding existing Family programs and services.

The Army Family Covenant has lead to improving facilities such as the gyms and offering various events and activities for our Families. In order to qualify for the wide range of free and discounted programs, Families of deployed Soldiers must provide proof of eligibility.

One of the programs providing additional support to our Soldiers and Families is Army Community Service. ACS received approval to add several new positions allowing them to increase services, develop new programs and better serve Fort Bragg Soldiers and Families. The main ACS office is located in the Soldier Support Center, but with the help of the Army Family Covenant, several satellite offices have been established throughout the Fort Bragg area and community. ACS can help Families with anything from budget counseling to volunteer registration and employment readiness to information and referral. ACS continues to offer all its services to their customers free of charge.

Soldiers with children understand the importance of quality childcare programs and wholesome activities for their youth. Through the Army Family Covenant registration at Child, Youth and School Services is free. Getting registered with CYSS is the first step to getting your children involved with great programs. Saturday child care allows parents to let their children spend the day with other kids their age under the guidance of qualified care givers while they run their errands or get some much needed adult time. Children interested in athletics can participate in basketball, soccer, or another sport of their choice at no charge. SKIESUnlimited offers a variety of instructional programs from karate and dance to baby sign language and gymnastics.

The Army Family Covenant extends beyond ACS and CYS. Eligible Families can also enjoy discounts at Dragon and Airborne Lanes. Additionally, discounted green fees and golf clinics are available for spouses and Family members at Stryker and Ryder Golf Courses. New equipment at the physical fitness centers, a variety of free aerobics classes and overall improvement of the PFCs provides Fort Bragg Soldiers and Families with an added incentive to stay active and improve their physical fitness.

The Army Family Covenant has helped to improve and enhance Fort Bragg's existing Family programs and services. This is just one way for us to recognize that the strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their Families.

For more information on how the Army Family Covenant can help you and your Family, please visit at