Starting Oct. 1, families who do not live near a military installation will still have access to family programs and support services through a Defense Department initiative with the Armed Services YMCA.
Eligible troops and families nationwide will be able to join local participating YMCAs for free.
Officials expect to provide the free memberships to more than 27,000 active-duty members and military families under the $31 million, two-year contract. There are 2,686 YMCAs nationwide.
Those eligible include:
• Families of deployed National Guard and Reserve members.
• Active-duty members on independent duty assignments, such as recruiting duty.
• Spouses and family members who have moved — such as to live with their parents — while their service member is deployed.
• Active-duty families assigned to newly established joint bases created by the base realignment and closure process. There is a limited number of memberships at these bases, either 300 or 450 depending on the location.
Troops and families can sign up for six-month intervals. Service members can be included, also for free, during the three months before or after a deployment.
Participating YMCAs can be found http://www.ymca.net/about_the_ymca/military_outreach_initiative.html">online. Forms and more information can be found at http://www.militaryonesource.com/skins/MOS/home.aspx">Military OneSource.