By Alice Adler, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment family memberSeptember 8, 2008
VILSECK, Germany - The children of Vilseck's 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment had some fun, learned something new and were put through their paces during the regiment's Youth Spur Ride Aug. 21.
The event was organized by the 2SCR rear detachment Soldiers and held in and around Vilseck's Memorial Fitness Center. The unit turned the sports fields around the fitness center was turned into a venue for a series of events designed to teach the children a little about what their parents do every day in the Army.
The families were grouped together by squadron and the children were taken from one station to another where they learned soldier skills and got to try them out themselves.
Individual Movement Techniques, bandaging, evacuating a casualty, land navigation, and physical training were some of the events the participants rotated through.
In addition to the unit run events, other activities including a ball pit, jumping castle and food stands run by the Family Readiness Groups. Inside the fitness center stations and tables provided information on the unit's reintegration timeline.
The regiment was not alone in providing information to 2SCR families; Army Community Service redeployment services, the regiment's own Dragoon Foundation, the Army National Guard, AFN radio, and the Vilseck Spouses' Club also provided information while helping families enjoy the outing.
The event was timed to coincide with the start of the new school year, giving families who had recently returned from summer vacation in the States a chance to reunite and have some fun.
"It was a good time for everyone," said rear detachment commander Lt. Col. Thomas Rickard, "We were blessed with good weather."
About 200 children were preregistered, but the actual turnout was a little bit higher.
"We were happy to see all the families make it out," said 2nd Lt. Chad Humphrey.
The Spur Ride was also provided a chance for the families to learn about the imminent redeployment of their Soldiers from Iraq. Over the next five to six weeks, a series of events and information releases will help prepare the families for the return of their loved ones. Information regarding times and locations, as well as assistance with reintegration issues, will be shared with the families.
"What to expect from your spouse, and how to live your life and be like a regular couple again," explained Rickard.
The kids enjoyed participating in the sometimes difficult tasks and learning new skills.
"I liked when you had to crawl," said Jade Clark of the IMT training, "You get to see how fast you are and you get to carry a gun."
The course -operated with imitation weapons known as "rubber ducks" - was a favorite of the kids who enjoyed running and getting a taste of what the regiment does in Iraq.
"I like when they taught us how to duck down - if you stay up you might get shot!" noted 12-year-old Brandon Clarida.
Another element of the course had kids practicing throwing grenades into designed areas.
"I liked to run around and throw the grenade," said Michael Moya. "It's pretty fun."
Two other stations taught the participants how to bandage a wound and evacuate a casualty. "I liked doing the bandages and how they taught you what to do in case of an emergency," said 6-year-old Alexa Moya.
Some of the children enjoyed the chance to test their strength during the physical fitness test. Daryl Shamlee and Roman Walton agreed their favorite part was the 25-yard dash.
"You get to see who was the fastest and who got the fastest time," said Shamlee. "I liked the competition," added Walton. Mariah Feige was pleased with her performance, "I got first place even though I'm used to Florida weather!" She beamed. "I can't believe I got first place!"
Having a venue for the families to get together and talk with one another is an important step in the reintegration process. "It's good to stay in touch," noted Humphrey.
As the event ended, tired and happy kids accepted their certificates before heading home. The success of the day was noted by U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr commander Col. Chris Sorenson, who said: "It embodies the pride of 2SCR and everything you are doing back here in support of those forward."