PT in the Park: Children and parents laugh, dance, run and jump through the rain
April 9, 2010
SCHOFIELDAca,!E+BARRACKS, Hawaii - "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring."
Well, no one was snoring Thursday morning, during "PT in the Park," a Month of the Military Child event for Soldiers, spouses and children at Bennett Youth Center Field, here.
Rain showers couldn't dampen the children's and parents' enthusiasm for physical training at the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation event, hosted by Child, Youth and School Services.
Soldiers and units running past the park seemed surprised to encounter a mass of children in matching gray Army T-shirts dancing to the "Cha Cha Slide," in drenched grass, at 6:30 a.m.
"Every morning, my kids ask me 'where I am going' and 'why am I getting up so early'," said Spc. Theresa Faoa, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, who brought her three sons, Lonenoa, 8; Simi, 7; and Palaie, 6, to the event. "This was a chance to show them what I go through each day and why."
"The parents already do PT, so this is an opportunity to show their children what they do, and be together," said Debra Blanchard, CYSS chief.
"It's fun, and it's always good to do PT with the family," said Sgt. Kyle Bushar, B Company, 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID.
Giggles chased away clouds, as larger-than-life friends joined families on the field for the aerobics.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore, Donald and Daisy Duck, and Batman and Spiderman lumbered through stretching and dancing, and they encouraged children through the activities.
After the emcee led warm-ups, children rotated through four stations where they jumped hurdles, sprinted short distances, ran high-knees through ladders and wove through cones.
"This was our first time doing PT together," said Sgt. Donnie Harris, 544th Transportation Detachment, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, stationed at Pearl Harbor. "I get to spend time with my child doing aerobic exercise, instead of just watching him play sports or me going off alone to do my PT."
Throughout April, FMWR will host Month of the Military Child events like PT in the Park or "Teen Lock-In Around the World," to recognize and encourage Army children, promote positive attitudes and strengthen family foundations.
Month of the Military Child was created in 1986 to honor the courage and everyday sacrifices of military children.
"This is when the Army specifically focuses on children and taking care of the families, especially during the multiple deployments our Soldiers and families are facing," said Blanchard. "The Army has put a huge focus on Month of the Military Child to recognize our children as 'everyday heroes.'"
"I just got back from training, so I wanted to spend time with the family," said Sgt. Clinton Lightfoot, B Co., 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regt. "It was a fun day to exercise with the kids."
According to CYSS figures, more than 900,000 Army children have at least one parent who has deployed more than once.
"We're close to deployment, so I want to spend as much time as possible with my son," said Staff Sgt. Paul Joseph, B Co., 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regt.
"Their mom is deployed right now, so it seemed like a good thing to take my kids, Jacqueline and Jonathan, to," said Staff Sgt. Peter Crouch, 2nd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt. (Rear) Detachment, 25th Combat Avn. Bde., 25th ID, and a member of the Blue Star Card program.
All year long, Army Garrison and FMWR work to improve Army children's quality of life with Army Family Covenant support and services like the Blue Star Card program for families of deployed Soldiers, or with football, basketball and baseball teams that 10-year-old Chase Harris plays for at Schofield Barracks' CYSS.
"We are taking care of Soldier's families and children so the Soldiers can do their job," said Blanchard. "That's what we're about. That is what we do everyday."
After 30 minutes of pulse-pounding activity, Soldiers, spouses and children walked away from the drenched field, smiling, with beverages and snacks, matching T-shirts and balloons - all donated by Aloha Kia, Army Hawaii Family Housing, and Tropic Lightning Real Estate.
Army families will have an additional opportunity to interact with Mickey and Friends during PT in the Park at Fort Shafter Gym, April 27, 6:30 a.m., where hopefully they will not have to sing; "Rain, rain go away; come again some other day."
Find more photos from PT in the Park on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usag-hi/sets/72157623665717267/">Flickr</a>.