GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – The Exceptional Family Members Program held its second annual Parent’s Picnic Day on June 15, 2022, on Rose Barracks. In a picnic atmosphere, all community members were invited to enjoy the great weather, play, network, and get to know their community better.
“This event is fantastic. It was great last year and I am really excited for the families and the kids that are running around here that we are doing it again this year. It’s a great way to kick off the summer,” garrison commander Col. Christopher Danbeck said.
Organizations such as the Family Advocacy Program, the Child and Youth Services, the United Services Organization, the American Forces Network, the library, and many more were present to offer fun activities, entertainment, and information.
“We are just here to have fun and get people involved. Get them out of the house and interacting with each other,” Quran Rich, EFMP Systems Navigator, explained. “And then if they have questions with any of these agencies that are here to support them, they have an opportunity to do their fun activities, ask questions, get information or find any kind of support that they might need.”
“We just got here a few months ago and it’s a great opportunity to network and meet different people and different organizations. Especially with a newborn it’s nice to see what they are offering as far as family activities, programs, and classes,” spouse Rashonda Spence said. “And of course to mingle and find kids the same age as ours so they can play, run around and be open.”
In addition to giving families the opportunity to come out and have a good time, this event aimed to bring awareness to community members with special needs.
“My program focuses on Soldiers that got sent here with special needs dependents and our objective is to serve and support them and help them get out and feel involved. And we want the community members who may not have special needs dependents just to be aware that there are special needs families in our area,” Terry Giles, EFMP manager for USAG Bavaria, explained.
One of the games offered, the mirror box game, was one fun way to give participants an idea of how it feels to be someone with special needs and spread awareness and understanding. “You can do the same things as everybody else. It’s just more challenging,” Rich explained.
Many other fun activities such as the bean bag toss, face painting, corn-hole, and hula-hoop were available. Additionally, food trucks filled the needs of hungry participants that did not bring their own picnic food.
“We didn’t expect it to be this big. It turned out really nice. I like how everyone is coming out with their kids and having a picnic and everybody is having fun with everybody else” said Sgt. Kelly Nicolas from 2CR who came to enjoy the picnic with his family. “This is a very good event. It’s the best weather for everybody to be out and play and have fun with their kids and meet new people.”
In comparison to last year, this event has already grown. More organizations participated and food trucks were present. However, in the future ACS hopes to expand this event to Hohenfels and Garmisch so families get the opportunity to do fun and interesting events there as well.
Apart from this annual picnic, the ACS offers other family-friendly and fun activities and events such as the monthly karaoke party or the movie night for children. More information can be found at: