JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- Joint Base Lewis-McChord families jump-started the Month of the Military Child with Kids Fest on March 31. The annual event lets the JBLM community show its support for military children and get creative at the same time.

"It's always fun to see what people come up with," Morale, Welfare and Recreation Special Events Director Kate Lavarents said.

This year's Time Machine theme allowed kids and parents to travel between the past and
the future at 47 different booths. In addition to sponsors like KBTC public television and the Pacific Science Center, loads of on-base agencies hosted fun and educational activities.

The 571st Military Police Company let kids try out a miniature fossil dig, while others stepped into the Child, Youth and School Services Time Machine, built and operated by teens in the HIRED! program.

Nearly all of the program's 24 participants helped out with Kids Fest in some way. The teens involved in the program are finding internships to learn job skills. Kids Fest gave them the opportunity to show them off.

"It's actually giving these kids the opportunity to get out there and reverse the stereotypical views people have of young people," CYSS employee Dwon Jackson said.

In a scenario inspired by the move Transformers, visitors that traveled through the Time Machine were transported to the year 3045. There they were greeted by autobots, in costumes designed by Gavin Moore, one of the HIRED! program's participants.

Cristian Corretjer, another one of the HIRED! autobots, said that showing off the time machine added to the skills he was learning in the program.

"We think of this like a job," he said.

Sarah Bunn came with daughter Bonnie, 4, and enjoyed seeing her explore the different activities.
"(Kids Fest) has so many different areas, it lets you see what their real interests are," she said.

No matter what their age, participants got to test the limits of their imaginations - and all for a good cause.

"I don't think it's a negative thing, but ... (military children) make their share of sacrifices just like military spouses and military active and reserve servicemembers do," Lavarents said.

Month of the Military Child gives people the chance to say thanks.

Marisa Petrich: marisa.petrich@nwguardian.com

Page last updated Thu April 7th, 2011 at 16:47