Children join parents at work, learn importance of Army testing
May 10, 2013
By Sandy Gibson
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 30, 2013) -- Employees of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command participated in the "Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" here at the ATEC Headquarters building April 25.
This year marked the first year ATEC held the event at its new location and offered a broad schedule of activities to make the day successful for approximately 80 children. Employees were invited to bring their daughters, sons, relatives, and friends between the ages of six and 18.
"The children learned that even though their parents may sit at a desk with a computer, their work has a far-reaching effect," said Benita Bryant, Equal Employment Opportunity intern specialist. Youngsters got a first-hand look at the stationary work that goes into a project before testing is done. Bryant also added the importance of continual work was emphasized to them. Participants were shown that not all projects are completed in a week or a month, but instead some involve constant testing and improvements to make equipment better and safer for our service members.
Activities ranged from drawing pictures of what children thought their parents did at work to static vehicle displays to trying on combat gear. The TA-50 (field clothing) demonstration gave children a visual of what Soldiers wear in battle and show them some gear is actually tested by their parents here at APG, said Bryant. "The closest some children get to a real Soldier is on television."
Hands-on activities covered the remainder of the day and were designed to give children a clearer picture of the kinds of vehicles and equipment their parents test. The children were able to wear combat gear, toss dummy grenades, and simulate firing an M-16 rifle. There were also vehicle displays of a Stryker Mobile Gun System armored vehicle and a Buffalo Mine-Protected vehicle.
Children and parents alike were equally excited about spending the day together. Parents were eager to show their sons and daughters what they do and how the work they perform is critical to the mission of the Army.
"I was able to give my son a good overview of the ATEC mission within the Army and my work in particular as a bio-surety specialist," said Laurie Fazekas-Carey, bio-surety specialist in the G-2/3/7. "I explained to him that we have a responsibility to the Army's test and evaluation community and, ultimately, the support of the Soldier as our charge."
At the end of the day, the children were able to compare and contrast what their parents actually do versus what they thought they did.
"I learned that my Dad helps the military and he makes things for the military that helps them stay safe and won't die," said Kaelyn Brewer, 9-year-old daughter of Kristopher Brewer, process improvement specialist in the G-5.
The day culminated in the children having their photos taken as they were presented with certificates by Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, commanding general of ATEC, and Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Fritzsching, ATEC command sergeant major.
ATEC is already planning the next "Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" slated for April 24, 2014. They hope to have more children and many more activities, said Bryant.
"Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" is an annual event held the fourth Thursday each April. This year marked the event's 20th anniversary. Founded by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women (a non-profit organization also founded by Steinem), the annual event started in New York in 1993. The event initially began as the "Take our Daughters to Work Day" and was designed to address self-esteem issues unique to girls. It expanded in 2003 to include boys.