MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- The Single Marine Program was established in 1995 to quell rising quality of life concerns. Today, it has grown Marine Corps-wide as a source of entertainment and volunteering opportunities for Marines and sailors as well as improving base facilities.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of SMP working to improve the lives of active duty service members.
“When the program first started it began with eight recreation centers throughout the Marine Corps,” said Michael Brown, recreation center specialist, SMP. “Now the SMP has grown to 32 centers nationally even as far as Okinawa and Korea.”
SMP maintains representatives throughout commands across the Marine Corps who enable service members to voice their opinions about the installation’s facilities.
“Everyone should know who their SMP representative is within their unit,” Brown said. “If you have an issue, it’s the command team representative that forwards it to the SMP council.”
The Combat Center’s SMP recreation center, 5th Street Zone, provides Marines with a place to unwind on their off-duty hours with activities like billiards, ping-pong, darts and video games. The Zone also provides Marines with exciting recreational opportunities on and off base.
“Events we have hosted include [Ultimate Fighting Championship] clinics, talent shows, concerts, pool parties and trips to the San Diego Zoo,” said Lovetta Scipio, program coordinator, SMP. “We provide the Marines with something to do and are here for their benefit.”
During the holiday season, SMP also provides Marines with a
variety of entertaining events and trips. Throughout the month of December, SMP hosts free trips to Big Bear Lake, Palms Springs Desert Dunes Golf Course and a variety of other locations.
“Every holiday season we are busy trying to show the Marines a good time,” Scipio said. “We want to show them they have a home away from home.”
For service members interested in volunteering in the community, SMP provides a resource to become informed about the opportunities available.
“Community involvement helps teach the Marines social and leadership skills,” Scipio said. “We want the Marines to know that this is their community.”
According to Brown, while SMP has been contributing to the Marine Corps for two decades years it still has a bright future ahead of it.
“I hope to see it continue to grow and give young leaders the opportunity to take lead, take charge and have a voice within our Marine Corps,” Brown said. “Whatever level Marines want to take this program to, we will continue to give them the tools and resources to do so.”