By Michael StrasserApril 12, 2018
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 12, 2018) -- The 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum Museum staff teamed up with the Jefferson County 4-H to present a fun-filled afternoon for community children April 7 in celebration of Month of the Military Child.
More than 70 Families and 150 military children participated in a scavenger hunt as they toured the museum to look for several items in the exhibits such as a lantern, ski goggles and military decoration. Along the way, children could show off their artistic skills by creating their own military patch to wear. They also colored cloth squares that would be sewn into a Month of the Military Child quilt to display at the museum.
Sepp Scanlin, museum director, joined volunteer Staff Sgt. Logan Thompson from 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade to help children pick out historical military uniforms to wear for a photo shoot.
"It was great to see so many Families share history together," said Scanlin. "I heard so many people say how they were going to share pictures of the children in the historic uniforms with their grandparents, who wore the uniform during their service. In those cases, we could say thanks to several generations of military children."
As a 4-H youth development educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Kaci Evan said that her goal is to reach out to all the military children throughout the state of New York. She regularly travels to installations such as Fort Hamilton and West Point to support youths with research-based curriculum and activities.
"Since April is the Month of the Military Child, I wanted to do something really special for the youth here at Fort Drum and the surrounding area," she said. "What better place to partner then the museum where we could bring Families in, see some cool history and have a lot of fun while honoring our military kids."
Evans organized a pushup contest, sack race and a ruck packing contest, all of which she said falls under the 4-H Club mission mandate of healthy living.
"We thought it would be a good way to get the kids active and kind of break up the crowds forming in the museum," she said. "These are activities we've done in various community outreach events in the past that we know are a hit with the kids."
Evans said that every installation has a 4-H Club to provide children with continuity whenever they relocate to a new home.
"If they are working on a 4-H project at one installation and then they move, they can finish that wherever they go," she said. "They can see our clover as a national icon that follows them and they can say, 'I did that in Texas, and I want to join that organization in New York.'"
At the conclusion of the event, Col. Shane Morgan, 1st Brigade Combat Team commander, spoke to the attendees about the service of military children and presented the youths with a commemorative 4-H Military Challenge Coin.
Evans said the presentation was saved for the end so that the children could leave knowing that people recognize their service and want to honor them.
"First and foremost, we wanted all the children to have a good time and to know that they live in a community that supports them," Evans said. "I want them to know that the 4-H supports them, too, and that if they ever need something in the future that they can reach out to us and join a 4-H Club so that we can be a resource for them."
Scanlin said that the attendance and responses received from the MOMC event indicated its success.
"I also can't say enough about the support from the Jefferson County 4-H," he said. "We would not have been able to do this event without them, which again shows how the North Country community supports Fort Drum."
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Department of Defense designating April as Month of the Military Child and various activities have been planned at Fort Drum to celebrate this observance. Soldiers from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers members will read to children, 10-11 a.m. April 17, and host a PT session, 10-11 a.m. April 20, at Robert C. McEwen Library.