Chris Helie, outdoor recreation manager for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, coaches a youth how to use a bow and arrow at the Child, Youth Services Family Fun Fair, April 28. (Photo by Nathan Clinebelle)

Fun Fair rounds out military child month

By Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Military children are a valuable part of the military life and culture. They spend their childhood following their parents to different installations, supporting them while they serve. Fort Jackson and the Families of these children celebrate them daily, but the month of April is set aside to celebrate them and let them know they are loved and appreciated.

Fort Jackson worked hard to celebrate military children and show their appreciation for them throughout the Month of the Military Child with a variety of military child-centric activities, such as movies and ice cream, painting and popsicles with parents, parades and more at child, youth service centers, a bubble walk and later a picnic on the lawn with parents at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School just to name a few.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation ended Month of the Military child with a big celebration at Patriots Park, April 28.

Child, Youth Services hosts an annual Family Fun Fair to celebrate military children. Military children face unique challenges other children do not. Military children are uprooted from friends and schools every time their parents have permanent change of station moves. These moves can take place as often as every 18 months.

“Today, we’re celebrating Month of the Military Child,” Chris Helie, outdoor recreation manager for DFMWR said. “The kids get to come out just to have fun and we get to celebrate the kids that don’t always get celebrated with the life they live.”

Children at the fun fair were able to make crafts, get their faces painted, interact with firefighters and police officers; and even watch Fort Jackson leaders.

He continued to say it’s just one of the many nice gestures they can do to give back and celebrate the children that selflessly sacrifice to support their parents’ careers.

Helie added that due to his Army career, his two daughters moved around the world and never really had one place they could consider “home.”

“Just to be able to celebrate the military children that travel the world and follow in the parents footsteps and support them in whatever way they can,” he said. “So, it’s a nice gesture that we can give back and celebrate them. It’s all about the families.”

The importance was not lost on military spouse and mother, Patricia Koenig who recognized the importance of the event, and said, “It’s about bringing military families together.”

Post Command Sgt. Maj. Erik Ochs took a break from entertaining families on the piano floor mat to say, “I think this is a great opportunity to highlight what our (DFMWR) partners are doing for our Families, specifically our children here. It’s an important part of our cadre resilience, knowing their Families are taken care of and it’s really exposing them to the opportunities.”