FORT SILL, Okla. -- Military children are an important part of the Army family and to celebrate them for their contributions, each year April was designated Month of the Military Child.

This year's celebration was full of events to recognize military children. It began March 31 with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation free youth summertime activities and job expo at Rinehart Fitness Center.

There was a parade for the youngest members of Child, Youth and School Services and the children in the child development centers also had fun climbing in and on wheeled vehicles of all shapes and sizes at Wheels Day.

The youth center had several events as well including a teen lock-in, an open house and cookout, and a teen versus staff basketball game where Rumble, the Oklahoma City Thunder mascot, entertained all in attendance.

"The basketball game is an event the teens look forward to every year, and this year there were more teens playing than in the past couple of years," said Brooke Wilson, youth center director.

"It was a little scary at first with the score staying close but in the end the staff pulled it out to win, 110-96," she added. "Rumble did a really good job for us. The teens and family members who attended the game all enjoyed watching his antics and getting autographs."

The School Age Center had an essay contest, a parent-child breakfast and the fashion show where the children displayed the latest fashions on the runway.

"It wasn't Hollywood and the carpet wasn't red, but more than a dozen young models from the SAC modeled casual and dressy attire on the green carpet at the fashion show April 27," said Mary Michelle Turner, Parent Central Services director. "I think the kids had a good time showing off the latest fashions for the spring and summer to an audience full of proud parents and staff members."

This year's theme was "Military Kids: Heroes for the Future."

Turner said celebrating military children fosters stronger relationships with military families and the communities in which they reside.

"We also recognize the importance of both child and family to the overall mission of today's military," she said. "We always appreciate and celebrate our military children but in April we highlight the diversity and originality of our kids with these various events."

In addition to the events mentioned, Child, Youth and School Services, along with other agencies, hosted a number of events including the reality party, play days and the expo which were hosted by Army Community Service's family advocacy program.