ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Illinois -- The halls, cubicles, and offices of Army Contracting Command-Rock Island were especially noisy and active for a Thursday. Beach balls and Nerf darts flew through the air while unabashed questions were met with laughter. Feet hanging over the edges of office chairs struggled to reach the floor.
This year's ACC-RI's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, held April 27, was the first time the center has hosted an event such as this in several years. Welcoming the children of ACC-RI employees to the center for a day was an opportunity for kids to learn about Army contracting and a chance for the workforce to let loose and embrace their fun side.
Mark Mower, civilian deputy director, ACC-RI, said the event was organized because leadership has a renewed interest in engaging with the center's employees.
"I really appreciate the participation in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," said Mower. "It was a fun day-long event in which we were able to share a few laughs and create memories while taking some time to get to know each other better and impress upon the next generation the importance of civil service."
Jessica Dobbeleare, an Information Technology Branch Chief, organized the event and said she was impressed with the participation from the entire workforce taking part. Dobbeleare said 78 employees participated with 55 guests, who ranged in age from two to 21 years old.
"Even those who did not bring a child to work were willing to help coordinate activities or share their knowledge and work with our guests," said Dobbeleare. "It was really inspiring to see the workforce come together in this way."
The event began in the Lock & Dam Lounge with Dobbeleare providing opening remarks and introducing Mower, who gave an overview of the center and engaged with the children, talking to them about what their parents do at work.
Sgt. 1st Class Mary Matthews, contract specialist, and her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Matthews, senior religious affairs non-commissioned officer with U.S. Army Sustainment Command, provided an overview of the military and gave kids who answered questions sergeant pins.
The morning's presentations concluded with an overview of the Rock Island Arsenal and a lesson on flag etiquette by Jason Morin, assistant historian, ASC.
Following the presentations, parents could take their kids on a variety of self-guided activities such as touring the Lock & Dam 15, taking a history scavenger hunt in the Rock Island Arsenal Museum, brave the blustery weather and play at Memorial Field, or take a bus tour of the island.
Some kids preferred the activities organized by volunteers: A grenade toss, arts and crafts and an Army men and Nerf gun shootout. Others were content to spend much of their time helping their parents work.
Amy Larson, contract specialist, brought her daughter to work and said it was a fabulous opportunity for her and others to explore jobs in the Department of Defense.
"As the joke stands: No one ever dreams of becoming a contract specialist," said Larson. "Well, maybe now they will. A big 'thank you' to those who developed the idea for, organized, and hosted the event. It was a complete success in both my daughter's and my eyes."