by Tammie Moore, Fort Meade Public Affairs
Military children who attend Anne Arundel County Schools participate in a Month of the Military Child panel discussion April 5, 2022. The students talked about their unique experiences growing up with military parents. (Courtesy image)
Month of the Military Child: Growing resilient youth
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – April is Month of the Military Child; a time to recognize the unique struggles military children face and celebrate their resiliency.
“Military-connected children shoulder the burdens of service, facing unique challenges from a young age,” according to the month’s proclamation signed by President Joe Biden. “They move frequently with their families — leaving friends, schools, and communities behind. They say goodbye to deploying family members, not knowing when they will see them again.”
The Fort Meade Child and Youth Services staff play a large role in the life of military children on the post. Francisco Jamison, whose father served in the military, is the Fort Meade Child and Youth Services division chief. This self-proclaimed military brat has spent his adult life working with military youth.
“If you are that military child you are dealing with a lot of change,” he said. “The average civilian child doesn't move eight to 10 times, changing neighborhoods, changing friends, changing schools. That is a challenge for a young person and life is hard enough without all that. To add that constant uncertainty to life makes it much harder than your normal, your average child.”
A military child’s life of constant change does come with some benefits according to Jamison.
“The good thing is they got a lot of experience with diversity,” he said. “That's the beautiful thing about being in the military. You experience every culture, every religion, every background, every race. It's a one team, one fight mentality.”
Six military children participated in an Anne Arundel County School’s Growing Up Military panel discussion April 5, 2022, where they talked about how being a military child shaped who they are.
Elisha Williams shared some of his experiences as a military child during the panel discussion. He is an Annapolis High School senior. His father serves in the Air Force.
“My dad’s been deployed about four times,” he said. “The only one I really remember is when he got stationed over in Afghanistan for about ten months. This was my freshman year going into high school, so I’m going through a big change in my life but he’s not there. It really teaches you to appreciate the time that you have with people because often we don’t really value our family time as much as we really should. You’ve got to make the most of the time with them while they’re still there.”
Finola Quinn, an Annapolis High School junior, also participated in the panel. Her father is a Marine. The family moved a lot and lived overseas for about a decade.
“Moving that much does teach you to develop skills to adapt to new places, to adapt to new cultural environments,” she said. “It gave you a skill set that I wouldn’t say most kids have.”
The Fort Meade CYS staff offer numerous opportunities for military children to connect with other military children through special events, sports, and clubs.
“We are very happy to be the leading force on the garrison for children and youth activities,” Jamison said. “That runs the gamut from child development centers and childcare all the way through high school. Teen Center is a fantastic program for ages 11 through 12th grade. It is an after-school program and it's free to anyone who is eligible for CYS.”
To watch the AACPS panel discussion, visit www.tube.com/watch?v=j5XW2pBsfgI.
To learn more about the Month of the Military Child listen to episode 54 of the Fort Meade Declassified podcast which can be streamed on Digital Meade, Spotify, iTunes, or iHeartRadio.