FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 8, 2012) -- Fort Rucker will show its appreciation for military Families by offering some free Family fun with the Camping Under the Stars event Nov. 16 at Lake Tholocco's West Beach.

The event, which kicks off at 4 p.m. as part of November's Month of the Military Family, features numerous Family activities, camping, two movies and a book reading by Col. Stuart J. McRae, garrison commander, according to Janice Erdlitz, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing director.

"We thought a Family camp out event would be a great way to bring Families together and give kids memories that will last a lifetime. This is just one way DFMWR would like to say 'thank you' to our military Families for all they with their service to our country," said Erdlitz.

While camping is in the title, people don't have to stay the night to take part in the event, according to Erdlitz.

"I really hope that Families take advantage of the opportunity to camp out, but even if they don't they can still come and enjoy all the festivities. How can you pass the chance to roast marshmallows for s 'mores? If you've never camped out, this will be the perfect opportunity to, and there will be plenty of people around that can help," said Erdlitz.

Fort Rucker Outdoor Recreation even offers free usage of tents, but people need to reserve theirs by calling 255-9810 as early as possible, as supplies are limited, she added.

The entertainment lineup includes the Tell Me A Story program, which will feature a book reading by McRae. The garrison commander will read the children's book "While You Are Away," by Eileen Spinelli, at 7 p.m. at the beach's gazebo field. The book is geared for children ages 4-12 and people can reserve a copy of the book while supplies last by calling 255-9812.

"Using literature and their own stories helps to foster skills for resilience, strong peer and parent connections, and a sense of pride and accomplishment," Erdlitz said of the program. "The books are carefully chosen for their content, literary value and illustrations. This book beautifully illustrates how children cope in the absence of a parent and yet continue to stay connected during the separation.

"I know this is a topic that most of the Families will have dealt with at some point in their military service," she added. "Hopefully this event will spark conversations between parents and children."

Other activities include two movies on outdoor screens, "How to Train Your Dragon," and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs;" an assortment of giant-sized games; an inflatable boxing ring; a teen kickball game; 4H Family activities, s'mores and more.

People just need to bring blankets, sleeping bags and a tent if you're not getting one from ODR, Erdlitz said.

"It is truly going to be a night to remember. I have only camped out a few times and each time it was amazing. It's going to be a great military Family event," said Erdlitz.

For more on Camping Under the Stars, call 255-9810.