SAN ANTONIO - The 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl program hosted the GoArmy Experience Zone at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, leading up to the game to promote community relations and increase awareness of Army service opportunities Jan. 5, 2018.
Some of the attractions included flight simulators, fitness challenges, the Army marksmanship team, as well as demonstrations from the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and the U.S. Army Drill Team, to name a few.
"The kids come out here and have a great time," said Staff Sgt. Frank Keffales, an exhibitor with the Mobile Exhibit Company. "My job is to go around the country to different events to give them a peek at Army fitness."
This year, the Army welcomed 360 Cradle to Careers to San Antonio where it had the special opportunity to connect with youths who normally would not be exposed to these demonstrations.
"We went to low-income neighborhoods and school districts to bring students to the STEM exhibits," said Jerryll Nelson, an executive assistant with the organization. "They often don't get a chance to see anything like it. The fact that the Army brought their exhibits here today is huge for them."
The different events showed the diverse opportunities available in the Army, from the Golden Knights parachute team to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics displays. For many, the different booths presented the Army in a new light.
"We had a girl who was interested in the Army Reserve," said Nelson. "She had no idea which direction to go, but with the opportunity we had here, we were able to hook her up with a recruiter. She and her mom got more information and the girl may very well be going off to basic training soon."
The Army uses events like this week's All-American Bowl to reach local neighborhoods, with the Mobile Exhibit Company driving across the country showcasing new technologies to America's youths.
"It's great to see the Army sponsoring events like these," said Rod Green, a student guide for the Army Experience Zone. "It gives me great pride to work for an organization that couples awesome technology and events with the community."