By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleApril 26, 2013
Active-duty, retiree and community-member fathers high-stepped through tires, crawled through sand under string meshing and ate hot dogs and chips with their daughters during Fort Belvoir's Girl Scout Troop C-1679's 5th annual Daddy-Daughter Boot Camp at Soldiers Field on Saturday.
The boot camp, which also included games like a grenade toss and a relay race that required daughters to wear a military uniform and their fathers to undress and redress a Barbie doll gave fathers an opportunity to spend time with their daughters that they may miss while supporting the country and military.
"Dad's don't always have time with their children because of their jobs," said Jill Shannon, Girl Scout Service Unit 535, service unit manager. "So, this event gives them a chance to make up for some of that lost time."
Maj. Carlos Plata, U.S. Army Cyber Command, Cyber Space Operations, planner, has been on assignment in Florida for several months, but flew back Friday night to attend the boot camp with his 8-year old daughter, Jacqueline, to build their relationship.
"It's pretty fantastic with all of the obstacles," said Plata. "It's our first one, so doing all of the competitions with her will be fun and help us bond more because we have to work together on a few of them."
Watching his daughter interact with children her age and build friendships was also fun for Plata to observe.
"It's fun watching her grow as an individual," said Plata.
Other fathers, like Sgt. 1st Class Danny Hurst, White House Communications Agency, systems engineer, were making return trips to the boot camp.
Hurst, who has lived in Colyer Village since 2007, came with his 11-year old daughter, Ashtyn, and appreciates that the event gives him a chance to spend time with her since she is his oldest child.
"We've done it every year we've been here," said Hurst. "I appreciate it more and more each year because as she gets older she wants to spend less time with daddy, and I want to spend more time with her."
Hurst and Ashtyn did the grenade toss, tug-of-war, the relay race and took pictures in combat gear and face paint. Hurst said the tug-of-war was the most interesting event.
"We did like one dad versus six girls and the dad was only allowed to use one arm," said Hurst. "The girls won pretty much every time."
Ashtyn Hurst enjoyed all the events, and feels like the best part is being able to hang out with her dad one-on-one.
"This gives me a chance to hang out with my dad without any of my brothers and sisters climbing all over him," said Ashtyn Hurst. "I get him to myself for once."
Bringing Families together supports the Army Family Covenant, according to Shannon, because the event puts military Families mind's at ease and shows them there are groups that want to organize fun events for them.
Shannon also likes seeing the fathers having fun with their daughters.
"Military children count down the minutes to when their mothers or fathers come back from deployment," said Shannon. "It warms my heart to see them having fun because that's what this event is all about."