Community groups honor children of military parents with day of fun

April 14, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- "Salute to the Military Child," a free event in support of children and youth in local communities whose parents are serving in the military, will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Pa.

Sponsored by Operation: Military Kids in cooperation with Penn State Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management students, the American Red Cross and Friends of the Pennsylvania Military Museum, the event is free for military families and supporters in celebration of April as the Month of the Military Child, a time to recognize the sacrifices made by military families and their children.

Children can enjoy arts and crafts, face painting, mini-golf and other games, as well as refreshments and prizes donated by local businesses. Military families also get free admission to the museum with a valid military I.D. The Battery B Drill will be held by the Civil War era re-enactment group, the 3rd Pa. Volunteers, on the museum grounds, who will demonstrate the firing of replica artillery pieces while they conduct their annual safety qualifying session and recruitment drive.

Operation: Military Kids is a national effort to support children of deployed soldiers from all branches of the military including Guard and Reserve. The initiative is a collaboration of the Cooperative Extension system's national 4-H youth program, Army Child, Youth and School Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the American Legion, the Military Child Education Coalition, and National Association of Child Care resource and referral agencies.

Christy Bartley, Penn State Cooperative Extension state 4-H program leader and military liaison, said that many children have seen their parents deployed more than once since the Iraq war began, so the organization presents events such as this throughout the year to help military children meet others like themselves.

"Military children look the same to teachers, friends and the community after a parent deploys, but their lives have changed dramatically," Bartley said. "We want to help them connect with other youth in similar situations and to use Operation: Military Kids as a way to link up with other youth in the community."

For more information, contact Susan Smith at Operation: Military Kids Pennsylvania at 814-865-2264 or by e-mail at sjs52@psu.edu, or visit the Web at http://www.operationmilitarykids.org/ online.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 16, 2010