By Ms. Brittany Carlson (IMCOM)May 3, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart celebrated the Month of the Military Child in April with a variety of family-oriented events, from free babysitting classes for teens to a Kiddie Boot Camp.
The activities, hosted by the garrison's Child, Youth and School Services, were designed to give back to military children for their contributions to military families and communities, said Genevieve Nystrom, CYS Services outreach services director.
"They have parents deployed [or] adding long hours, sometimes gone for a while," Nystrom said. "It's important for us to make sure children and their family members know we are grateful for the lifestyle changes they have to make and their flexibility."
Attendance was high. About 400 families attended the CYS Services Egg Hunt April 4, close to 300 people came to Movie Day April 14, and 300-500 people attended the German/American Friendship Baseball Game April 21, Nystrom added.
Hundreds more flocked to Springfest April 24, held on Patch Barracks. Parent and children browsed through the first-ever "kids' stuff only flea market." Other activities included School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills demonstrations and free car seat safety checks. The German-American Peace Project winners were also recognized.
Events like Springfest are good ways to let children know they're appreciated, said Army Lt. Col. Randy Owens, who brought his daughter Rhoslyn, 7, to the event.
"It lets them know that even though they're in a different country, they still can enjoy the same things kids in the States enjoy," he said.
The events also offer opportunities for military children to make new friends and learn about the community, said Sierra Stewart, Army spouse.
"It gives them a chance to get out and mingle, and meet other kids," she said.
For Stewart's daughter, Nalani, 11, this helps her to overcome the toughest part about being a military child: leaving old friends behind because of frequent moves.
"It's actually really fun getting to know other people and getting to have fun, instead of just staying home," she said.