By Eve A. Baker, Marine Corps Base Quantico
Marine Corps Base Quantico --
Since 1986, April has been known as the Month of the Military Child. Active duty and Reserve personnel have a total of 1.9 million children, according to defense.gov, and these children often face stresses that their peers in the civilian community do not, such as frequent moves and the extended absence of one or both parents, sometimes at the same time.
In recognition of the challenges military children have to deal with, there are numerous special events aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia throughout April, and the Main Exchange is hosting many of them.
The Easter bunny made an appearance at the MCX on April 4 and posed for pictures with children for two hours.
June Flowers, MCX retail and services analyst, said 150 families showed up for the event. As an added bonus and welcome surprise, recently retired Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, the former deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, dropped off 60 Easter baskets from his church to be distributed to children who attended the event.
Saturday April 18, the Provost Marshal’s Office and fire department were on-site with equipment displays, a K-9 demonstration and McGruff the Crime Dog. Corporal Chesty XIV, the official mascot of the Marine Corps, also made an appearance and posed for pictures.
Additionally on Saturday, Delta Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, brought out a light armored vehicle and let children climb all over it.
More exciting events are scheduled for the upcoming Saturday at the MCX from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., including appearances by Queen Elsa and Olaf from the movie “Frozen,” a diaper derby for babies at the crawling stage, and $5 haircuts for all children, said Flowers. The cosmetics department is offering free makeovers to teens from Friday to Sunday, and each participant will walk away with a gift.
The MCX isn’t the only base organization hosting events. Semper Fit hosted Kids’ Yoga Mat and a Snack on Wednesday and will hold a family Zumba night April 24 from 6-7 p.m. at the Barber Physical Activity Center for $5 per family.
The Medal of Honor Golf Course is offering a free junior golf clinic for children ages 7 to 16 on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. Instructors will demonstrate putting, chipping and full shots, and then participants will get to play a few holes on the course, said golf course employee Chancy Chapman. Chapman said clubs will be available for children to borrow if they don’t bring their own.
The month wraps up with the Kids First Fair on April 25. Sponsored by the Family Advocacy Program; New Parent Support Program; Semper Fit; Child Development Center; and Children, Youth and Teen Program, the event starts out with the Blue Ribbon 3K/5K walk/run event. The free, untimed event kicks off at 9:30 a.m., at Butler Stadium. The first 200 pre-registered participants who finish the race will receive a commemorative coin as they cross the finish line, said organizer Rebecca Childress, FAP prevention and education specialist. Interested runners and walkers can call 703-784-2249 to register.
Following the race, from 10 a.m. to noon, children and families can wander among the vendors set up along the track. Various Marine Corps Community Services and outside agencies will have displays with information and takeaways for children. There will also be bounce houses and refreshments. At 11 a.m. the NPSP will hold a stroller brigade, for families to decorate their strollers and walk together in support of child abuse prevention.
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