Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?
June 1, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families brought two shows, here, Saturday, and one to Aliamanu Military Reservation, Wednesday, to help military parents and children talk, listen and connect with familiar characters and important issues.
“My family is moving to a new base, I’m going to miss this place, and I’m going to miss all of you,” said Katie, a military-child character who only exists in this version of Sesame Street.
“The message for military families is to promote better understanding for kids that daddy is in the military,” said Sameckia Edwards, a Navy family member who brought two children to the show.
USO and Sesame Street created the show, now in its fifth iteration, in 2008, especially to educate and entertain military families, according to Lonnie Cooper, tour producer/manager, USO.
In the current tour, Elmo, Grover, Rosita, Honker and Cookie Monster help Katie feel better about an upcoming move and offer tips to make new friends, while keeping in touch with old ones " all through the catchy songs and dances one would expect from Sesame Street and USO.
“We came the last time when the show was about deployment, and my husband was getting ready to deploy,” said Melisa Mode, a family member with 552nd Military Police Company, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “This year it is about (permanent changes of station, or PCS), and we will be PSCing soon. The timing is perfect.
“The show is helping the kids understand how the military works,” Mode added, who brought her 5-year-old son, Benjamin, and 3-year-old son, Caden, to the show.
The Sesame Street gang offered many ways for children to feel better, stay in touch and stay friends, while singing that “change brings you something new.”
“This is something for parents and kids to enjoy time together,” Cooper said. “This project serves the families, gives a message and entertains.”
Cooper added that it was especially important to bring the free shows to multiple venues throughout Hawaii, as Hawaii is an isolated location for military families without a lot of live entertainment tours.
Jessica Dekoekkoek, a family member with 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Bde. Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, brought her 2-year-old daughter, Victoria, to USO’s Sesame Street to help address upcoming military family issues like redeployment, and because Victoria is obsessed with the show.
Working with U.S. Army-Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, more than 1,550 family members attended the first two shows, receiving readiness and well-being messages with a lot of giggles, cheers and dancing feet.
“This is a good show; even the parents are singing and dancing,” said Spc. Shandora Townsend, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th TSC, who volunteered for the event. “Plus, I got free toys!”
The half-an-hour show even offered opportunities for children to connect with their favorite characters, as they shimmed, swayed and sang out into the crowd.