Families matter to the Department of Defense and to Fort Riley as every April the youngest members, the military children, are recognized and celebrated with activities and festivals.

"The Department of Defense has designated April as Month of the Military Child which is an opportunity to honor and recognize our military children and youth," said Amelia Knapp, outreach services director, Fort Riley Child and Youth Services. "This year's theme is 'Military Kids Can.'"

Since 1986, the Month of the Military Child has been celebrated and recognizes the honor, commitment, contributions and sacrifices the youth make to our nation.

The month begins with activities for families to spend time together and explore Fort Riley with a selfie scavenger hunt. Forms are available at CYS, 6620 Normandy Dr. Families use the checklist and take a family selfie at each location.

"Our events are family oriented and will include a selfie scavenger hunt, movie showing and pancake feed," Knapp said. "We also have a several events that will match our "Military Kids Can" theme by having a superhero focus to emphasize the strength that our children and youth provide to our Soldiers and families."

On April 10, the MOMC proclamation will be signed during the town hall meeting at SpareTime Interactive Entertainment. Col. Stephen Shrader, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley commander, will read and sign the proclamation in honor of MOMC activities, according to the event flyer.

Other activities slated include; youth sports night, April 5; family rock climbing, April 13; the Exceptional Family Member Program and New Parent Support Program's Spring Fling, April 13; several project based activities throughout the month and the MOMC parade, April 19 at Artillery Parade Field.

"Because the children from our centers are able to participate in our parade, this makes the event itself extra special as well as when the area residents line the streets to show their support for our children," Knapp said. "The parade also consists of Fort Riley leaders, Riley and Scarlett Bears, the Fort Riley Fire Department, the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard and the 1st Division Band. The community is invited to attend this event, which begins at 10 a.m. at Artillery Parade Field and ends at the Old Trooper Statue."

Knapp said more than 3,600 children are registered to use the Fort Riley CYS programs and with Soldiers deployed there are discounts available for the families.

"When families bring their deployment orders into the Parent Central office, we're able to determine what discounts they are eligible for," she said. "One of the deployment benefits includes 16 free hours which can be used for hourly care, for our monthly Tuesday evening childcare, or for our Parents' Night Out events, which is a monthly Saturday evening of childcare."

More information about MOMC and CYS are available on the CYS Facebook page or call 785-239-9885.