Month of the Military Child is observed each April to honor and celebrate military children and youth for their service, commitment, and sacrifice in support of the Army's mission. The observance reiterates the Army’s commitment to provide quality care and positive youth development for a bright future. The April 2022 observance has the theme “Military Children and Youth: Standing Strong and Proud."
Strong and proud – April marks Month of the Military Child
With every spring comes the chance to recognize military children, as April is Month of the Military Child. It’s a time to honor military-connected youth for all their service, commitment and sacrifice that, ultimately, supports Service members’ missions. This year’s theme is: Military Children and Youth: Standing Strong and Proud.
“It’s important to recognize these children,” said Kristen Acquah, Fort Belvoir School Liaison Officer with DFMWR.
“Military children should certainly be celebrated,” she said. “We want them all to know their efforts and ongoing resilience is a very important part of the military family,” she said. “They are integral to our sense of community.”
Acquah said military children’s social and emotional needs may be affected by frequent relocations and new schools; and often their parents’ training and deployment requirements. She added that some military youth are in particularly unique situations, when both parents serve in the military.
“These youth and teens are used to constant change in their lives,” she said. “And, maybe out of necessity, they are used to building friendships and doing what needs to be done to stay resilient and connected,” adding military children’s best qualities are courage and adaptability.
“They know what’s in front of them, especially high-schoolers. They typically step into their roles as mini-adults and support their families in some way – by taking out the garbage, helping with siblings, even with a smile when it’s needed,” Acquah said.
The school liaison officer suggest parents who are about to relocate contact their SLO as soon as possible. “We support parents so their needs can be addressed – often at a very busy time in their careers. We can connect you with resources and let you know about the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.” The compact removes barriers that frequent relocations and deployments may have on military children and their education, including timely enrollment; records transfer; graduation requirements; scheduling, etc.
With pre-schoolers finishing up their time at the Child Development Centers, kindergarten readiness is very important … and is a milestone is many children’s and parents’ lives. The eldest students at CDCs are 5 and are due for elementary school tours in the coming weeks. “It’s important that families and children see what the expectations may be for them to start school,” she said. “What does a school cafeteria look like? How are we expected to act in a school’s hallways. And, they’ll soon bridge to know who to trust at elementary school, like teachers and principals.”
MoMC upcoming events
- MOMC Young Lives, BIG Stories Art Contest: During the Month of the Military Child, Belvoir's Child and Youth Services (CYS) will display your child’s artwork throughout their facilities. Parents are invited to post their youth’s artwork on their Facebook page using the hashtag, #FLWCYSStandingStrongandProud. Click here for more information.
- Young Lives, BIG Stories Contest: The Young Lives, BIG Stories Contest is open to all Army-connected children preschool through twelfth grade. Youth participants will have the option of telling their story on ‘What does it mean to you to be a military child or youth?’ for the chance to win great prizes. Click here for more information.
- 2022 Virtual Military Teen Summit Contest: Military teens can write a short paragraph sharing their thoughts and feelings about being a military youth or their support of military youth for a chance to win prizes. Click here for more information.
- CYS Virtual College and Career Fair: Prep for life after high school with the CYS Virtual College and Career Fair on April 28. Click here for more information.
- Garrison representatives will visit with Child, Youth and School Services programs and Fort Belvoir Primary and Upper schools, and read to children. Parents should check with CDCs and schools for each class’ schedule.
- Month of the Military Child Spirit Week:
April 18, Red, white and Blue
April 19, Camo day
April 20, Purple Up Day, statewide
April 21, What’s your MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty
April 22, Wear RED Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed)
The Exchange Salutes Youngest Heroes During Month of the Military Child
Each Saturday in April, Fort Belvoir kids can celebrate Month of the Military Child with in-store activities at the Belvoir Exchange.
- Let’s play! On April 10, they will have coloring activities plus Jellybean the Easter Bunny will visit for activities and pictures from 11 a.m. to 2 pm. (Easter egg hunt at 1 PM)
- At the Nerf Super event on April 16, military kids ages 8 and older can pick up a provided Nerf Blaster at the toy department and practice their aim in the Blaster Testing Tent. Protective eyewear, Blasters and darts will be provided upon check-in.
- The final event of the month will be the Disney Ultimate Princess Celebration on April 23. Kids ages 4 and older can play with dolls, construct a princess tiara, color at the coloring station and take photos at the photo booth during the event. Participants can come dressed as their favorite Disney Princess. Come meet Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle and Snow White.
- The Exchange will give away military “brat” patches. The collectible patches, which have been part of the Exchange’s celebration of military children since 2018, will be available in-store while supplies last.
Find a list of the Fort Belvoir Exchange events on their Facebook page here.
By Margaret Steele
Fort Belvoir Garrison Public Affairs Office