By U.S. ArmyMarch 28, 2011
THERE'S more than one way Army journalists convey Soldiers' stories so they resonate with different members of the Army Family. Former Soldiers Radio and Television director Jini Ryan and SRTV producer Chip Filiault reached out to the children of Soldiers and Department of Defense civilians to get answers to questions from a young person's perspective. The segment, called Army Kids, aired in Army Newswatch, the Army's flagship broadcast, and brought their reports into the homes of military Families around the world.
Several middle and high school students rose to the challenge, and became Army Kids reporters for a day. Excerpts from their interviews offer a glimpse at how the youth reporters related to their subjects, and the stories that were developed from their interviews.
Operation Purple Camp
In the summer of 2008, then-13-year-old Corey Filiault served as the first Army Kids reporter at an Operation Purple Camp in West Virginia to see the positive impacts of the program on children of deployed parents. The daughter of a Department of Defense civilian, she was already anchoring her school announcements when she got her first taste of Army broadcasting. She hopes to be a lawyer or a book editor some day. The complete video story can be found at www.army.mil/media or www.youtube.com.
AK reporter: Do you guys worry about him when he's gone'
Audrey Zipperer, 13 (Dad in Army): Of course.
Abigail Zipperer, 9 (Dad in Army): Yeah, a lot.
AK reporter: What do you guys worry about'
Audrey: We just worry that he'll get hurt. I mean it happens, things happen over there, you can't really stop them.
AK reporter: Your dad, has he ever gotten hurt or have you guys ever gotten really, really worried'
Abigail: He got hit in the nose.
Audrey: Yeah, he got hit in the nose once firing a gun by accident. It wasn't stabilized properly. But when he's out on missions, he lost some Soldiers. And he was the commander of that troop and it was hard.... Every time that we heard that someone else in the troop had gotten hurt or was severely wounded or anything like that we were definitely really worried about him.
AK reporter: Is it helpful, now that you've come to Operation Purple Camp, that you see other people that are going through the same things that you are'
AK reporter: Do you guys discuss it at all'
Audrey: We do. We talk. We compare things. We sympathize with people.
AK reporter: Who is in the Army'
Jeremy Beale, 16: Both my parents, my mother and my father.
AK reporter: Wow. That must be really tough.
Jeremy: A little bit. It's tough knowing that they can get deployed at any time, but just having them with you most of the time through your life, it's pretty cool.
AK reporter: Do they get deployed one at a time usually, or have they both gotten deployed at the same time'
Jeremy: There's been certain instances, not like them getting deployed together, but like one will get deployed and one will go to another Army base for a short period of time, maybe like months or weeks.
AK reporter: Is that really hard'
Jeremy: Well, it's hard for the deployment. But the other one on base, usually they don't send them too far away, so he can come back and visit, like maybe once a week. Having my grandparents with me, it kind of helps me through it because of the fact that they're like second parents to me.
AK reporter: By coming to Purple Camp, does this help you...express feelings or worries'
Jeremy: Actually it did. Before Purple Camp, it's not that I couldn't talk to people, but talking to them about the military is not like one of our conversations.... When I got here, the first thing they had us talk about was how our parents are doing and like what branch of the military were they in, and we just had random conversations about our parents and what they did and things like that.
AK reporter: Overall, would you say that you'd like to join the Army'
Jeremy: I can't join the Army, because I have disabilities...which do not allow me to join the military. I couldn't, but if I could, I probably still wouldn't because of the fact that I know being a kid and moving a lot is really hard, and I don't know-if I had kids, I don't know if I could put them through that.
Collection for the troops
Katherine Arata was a 7th grader when she volunteered to serve as an Army Kids reporter to talk about the troop-outreach efforts of the students at H.H. Poole Middle School in Virginia. The daughter of an active-duty Army colonel, Katherine hopes to become a CNN reporter. The complete video story can be found at www.army.mil/media
AK reporter: What are you packing up'
Lauren Smith, 8th grade: Just main essentials like soap and toothpaste and toothbrushes and socks and some food.
Jermari Woodson, 8th grade: Variety of stuff...Frisbees, water guns, gum and also playing cards, and other toiletries-everything that a Soldier might need over there.
AK reporter: How did you get donations'
Heather Reilly, 6th grade: Well, we used Cullen (a fellow student), and he dressed up as a Soldier Angel with little wings on and ran through the school. And we talked about it on our announcements.
AK reporter: So, how did you get involved in this'
Cullen Guthrie, 8th grade: Around here almost every Family has some military or anything to do with it or a parent that's in the military. It's just nice to support them.
AK reporter: How do you feel about what you and your students are doing today'
Stephanie Reilly, 8th-grade geography teacher: I'm very proud of them. They worked very hard...The SCA (Student Council Association) sold candygrams to raise money to buy some of these items. Some of the items were donated-some by 6th graders, some by 7th graders and some by 8th graders-so the whole school took part in this. And the SCA took funds from what we had earned and what we had gotten from the candygrams and Mrs. Gaylord and I went out and bought some more supplies. Everybody likes to get a package in the mail especially when it's filled with goodies, so I'm really proud of the kids for participating in this.
AK reporter: Why are you helping out here today'
Jermari: Well, because, really, my sister is in the Army and I believe in making a difference. And I like to be part of someone's life, helping them out, really, that sort of thing.
AK reporter: If you could say one thing to the Soldiers receiving this box what would you say'
Lauren: I would say thank you for their service because I know it's hard for me too having my dad been deployed four times also, so, just thank you for their service because I know how much they sacrifice for it.
Mrs. Reilly: I would tell them good luck and we appreciate what they're doing. One of the things that I teach my students as a geography teacher is there's a lot of places in the world, but this is the best and we need to appreciate what we have and those people that make it possible for us to keep that.
Kelleen Lincoln was entering the 10th grade when she donned the Army Kids reporter mantle to find out what it takes to become a member of the U.S. Army Field Band in Maryland. Kelleen, the daughter of a DOD civilian, is an avid violin and viola player, and had a chance to jam with an Army musician. The link to the complete video story can be found at www.army.mil/media .
AK reporter: So, how long have you guys been playing your instruments'
Staff Sgt. Lauren Veronie, euphonium player: Well, I've been playing since I was about 12 years old. I picked the euphonium first thing out of all the options of band instruments. My mom really wanted me to play the flute and I wanted to do whatever the opposite of what she wanted me to do was so I picked something quite a bit bigger. It's the euphonium, it's like a small tuba.
Staff Sgt. Jeanne Wiesman, French horn player: I started when I was 13, in 7th grade, and in our school we had the choice of band or choir. And I don't have a singing voice so I looked at all the instruments and I thought the French horn was the prettiest and the shiniest.
AK reporter: Do you enjoy playing your instruments' Has there ever been a time when you've thought, "Maybe I should put this down. There (are) other things I could be doing right now'"
Wiesman: No, this is a great job because basically (like) we're in band class, all day long. It's a job where we get to do what we're passionate about.
AK reporter: Do your instruments that you play with this band belong to you, or are they from the Army, and...you borrow them'
Veronie: Most of us play on Army-issued instruments. It's partly a liability reason. If we're on tour and something happens to an instrument, it gets smashed or dropped or stolen, the Army is not liable for an instrument that does not belong to it.
AK reporter: What about your instrument'
Staff Sgt. Rachel Farber, vocalist and violinist: It's from Palermo in 1790, and as you can see, it's just beautiful and the sound is just like, it's almost like a viola sound. It's dark and warm and it's just-, I wonder who played this before, you know, for the past, what, 200 years'
AK reporter: Is there any advice that you would give young musicians possibly looking to go into military bands'
Veronie: I think one of the first things you can do is find a great teacher on your instrument. They will absolutely guide you and help you be passionate about it and get the instruction you need. And you have to work really hard-it's not always an easy road.
Farber: Audition for everything you can, play in anything you can play in and just keep playing. Music is the greatest gift in the world, and I'm grateful every day that I can do it for my country.