Yongsan children celebrate Army birthday
June 16, 2009
<strong>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea</strong> - U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Rusch, other Soldiers, and newly-arrived Camp Adventure volunteers joined children in a cake-cutting ceremony, June 12, at Child and Youth Services to celebrate the Army's 234th birthday.
The occasion marked the beginning of summer vacation for Seoul American Elementary School students as well as the Army's birthday. The children sang "Happy Birthday" and cut a cake for the Army.
"This is like a party for them," said Anita Stokes, School Aid Service program assistant. "And, of course, it's the Army birthday. We're celebrating both occasions."
She said the event was one of the ways community members could show its appreciation. "We are here because of the Army, and the Army does a lot for the community."
Camp Adventure volunteers, university students majoring in Child Development in United States, staffed the event. They will be holding summer programs for U.S. Forces Korea children.
Parents were welcomed to come out and enjoy the celebration with their children.
"I came out here to show my appreciation, not only as a soldier but as a parent and a member of the community," said Sgt. 1st Class Kelvin Estell, president of Parent Advisory Committee and father of 7-year-old Kelyia Estell. "I appreciate that she knows what I do for my family and for my country."
Opportunities for parents to come out and spend time with kids are critical, Estell said. "It builds a strong relationship between kids and parents when they meet on a day-to-day basis. Kids go through a lot when their parents move, so to have kids recognize what their parents are doing means a lot."
Estell said a garrison-wide effort to ease the transition process for children helps build stronger communities.
"If there is one thing I would like to see more of, it's parent involvement," Estell said. "Not just with their own kids, but with everyone. The Army is just one big family."
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