News: Organization offers Marines free, low cost fun
Story by Cpl. Walter D. Marino II
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — For many Marines their first duty station often means living away from their families for the first time and living in an unfamiliar city surrounded by new faces. This is where the Single Marine Program comes into play. The program provides cheap or free, activities for Marines as well as opportunities for them to get know fellow service members.
The program is available to both junior and senior enlisted Marines, however, the majority of Marines that participate in SMP aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego are junior enlisted.
“I believe the program helps out new Marines the most,” said Cpl. Leandre R. Ingram, SMP president for MCRD San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region. “They’re in a new location and don’t know anyone. If you have 30 junior Marines going to an event, they’re likely going to talk to each other. That’s how you make friends and get to know people on base.”
Although the title says single Marine, SMP also provides Marines that are in a relationship, engaged or married, with their spouse out of state, the same opportunities.
Ingram, who recently got engaged and continues leading the program, explained that the program is geared for single Marines, however, even married Marines can participate in activities such as community service.
Recently SMP representatives have worked with Marines aboard MCRD San Diego to organize free events such as a beach barbeque and movie night. They have also provided the opportunity to give back to the community by feeding the homeless.
“The SMP (offers) more than just recreational activities,” said Diana Vuong, administrative assistant, Semper Fit Division. “Volunteer opportunities offer a chance to give back to the community. We try and organize one to two volunteer opportunities a month.”
Cpl. Katrina D. Perkins, SMP vice president for MCRD San Diego and the WRR said that there has been a significant increase in the number of Marines involved with the program since she started working with the SMP in 2009.
“When I started going there was only a handlful of Marines,” said Perkins. “Now there are many more Marines, we have a (social networking) page and the program is more involved in the community.”
The programs upcoming events include a UFC viewing party, a drive-in-movie and a recreation center night.
Currently both Ingram and Perkins stated that a Catalina Island trip is being planned and is very probable. Both SMP leaders expressed excitement about the trip.
“Obviously we have a mission here at the depot with the recruits,” said Perkins. “But we also have permanent personnel here. I started working with the SMP to help improve these Marines’ quality of life and I think it’s the perfect opportunity for that.”
For more information regarding the Single Marine Program at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, contact Josh Davis 619 524-8240 davisJP@usmc-mccs.org