• Characters from Sesame Street visited Wallace Theater to sing and dance for children during a USO tour.

    Sesame Street/USO Experience

    Characters from Sesame Street visited Wallace Theater to sing and dance for children during a USO tour.

  • Sesame Street characters teach children how to cope with moving to a new base, and other challenges military children may face, during the performance.

    Teaching

    Sesame Street characters teach children how to cope with moving to a new base, and other challenges military children may face, during the performance.

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (May24) -- The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families had children dancing in the aisles and waving light up toys May 16 at Fort Belvoir's Wood Theater.

The show, which lasted about 40 minutes, is part of the 2012 Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour. The show focuses on "Katie," a character moving to a new installation, and her feelings of sadness and fear at the thought of moving, and also the positive thoughts she can use to keep an optimistic outlook about her situation.

"I thought it was really good," said Brittany Bray, parent and Dogue Creek village resident. "I think it's a real good concept to have, since the kids are going to move a lot as they grow up."

Staying in touch with friends via email and social media networks is one piece of advice discussed during the show. Looking at the move as a new adventure and an opportunity to make new friends is another suggestion made to "Katie" during the show.

"That's great because hopefully it will make them feel like making new friends will be their next adventure," said Mary Estep, another parent at the show and resident of Colyer Village.

Parents agreed that looking at each move as a new adventure is the best advice they can take from the performance and pass along to their children.

"I think it was spot-on because every time you move it is a new adventure," said Michele Gasperetti, parent and Jadwin-Loop village resident. "You make friends wherever you go and you can remain friends with them through email and social media, even though you are miles apart."

After the show, several parents expressed to USO representatives that they've been trying for years to teach their children the information covered in the performance. Lonnie Cooper, USO Tour Manager, spoke with several Families afterwards who shared that sentiment.

"What I heard was, 'I've been trying to explain this to my kids for three years and Elmo does it in 30 minutes better then I ever could,'" said Cooper. "It's not a knock on the parents it's just that it's Elmo. If you're five years old, who's more famous on the planet than Elmo?"

The USO switched the focus of the show to PCS moves, due to the draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan. They wanted to subject matter of the show to be relevant to today's military Families.

"(Military Families) are going to move around even without a deployment," Cooper said. "So, this is something you can hit home with kids on and give them that support."

Even though the subject matter of the show is geared towards today's military child, parents who were military children themselves, like Bray, said they wished this kind of program was available to them when they were growing up.

"My dad was in the Navy and we moved all the time," said Bray. "I think it would've prepared me better for moving. I think I would've adjusted to the new bases better because as a child you are sad when you leave friends behind. I may not have been as shy."

Page last updated Fri May 25th, 2012 at 10:23