By Heather SouthallOctober 15, 2010
For the wife of a Soldier, times of deployment can be stressful and lonely. Many are looking for ways to fill those daily gaps of idle time and get their minds off of things for a little while.
Jen Fischer and Sam Gregory of Morale, Welfare and Recreation are well aware of this fact.
So when inspiration struck in the form of a spousal recreation group at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, they set wheels in motion and created Women in the Wilderness, here.
"Our idea came from the fact that we have so many Soldiers deployed right now, and the majority of the spouses at home are women," said Gregory. "We wanted to reach out to these women and give them a chance to get engaged in some good outdoor activities."
Currently, the Women in the Wilderness adventure series is broken down into monthly themes: On the Water for September, Back Country Travel in October, and Climbing to New Heights in November.
While activities are wrapped up for September, Fischer wants women to know that there are plenty of great events to look forward to this month.
"This October we're going to be doing some camping," said Fischer. "We plan on going to Land Between the Lakes for a combination camping and kayaking trip."
So that everyone can be included in these outings, Fischer and Gregory offer workshops and clinics to teach the basics of outdoor recreation.
"For the camping intro clinic, we'll go over fundamentals like packing backpacks, setting up tents and 'leave no trace' principles," said Fischer.
Not all of the wilderness activities are overnight events. In fact, many of the activities are planned with mothers in mind.
"Most of these women have children," said Gregory. "We decided to have most of these events during the day while the kids are at school so that no one will have to worry about child care."
While the program is new, it is already attracting a great deal of Army wives looking to get out and occupy their time.
"I love the outdoors, so I knew this was something I definitely wanted to do," said Paula Brock whose husband is with the 3rd Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment. "Learning about things like canoeing and kayaking is ideal for me. I'm still iffy on November's climbing trip, but I'm getting there."
"We'll have her talked into it by then," added Gregory.
For Michelle Robideau, whose husband is deployed with 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Women in the Wilderness has opened her eyes to the different things available through MWR.
"The program lets you familiarize yourself with the facilities here," said Robideau. "Before this, I thought MWR's Outdoor Recreation Center was mostly about hunting."
Fischer and Gregory are confident that the program will continue to be successful, and are busy formulating ideas for springtime activities.
They are even looking to incorporate more events that can accommodate the working women of Fort Campbell.
Anyone interested in the Women in the Wilderness program is encouraged to contact MWR at (270) 412-7845 or online at www.FortCampbellmwr.com.