Every April, families around the world celebrate the Month of the Military Child, with the observance being a part of the annual calendar on military installations across the globe — and the Kaiserslautern Military Community is no exception.
For the second year in a row, USO Kaiserslautern will offer a MOMC Kinder Volksmarch. This free, family-friendly event will be held at 10 a.m. on Earth Day, April 22, on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. Participants will take a fun and informative two-mile walk along a designated trail with activity tables and booths set up along the way.
Community organizations, such as Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Army Child and Youth Services, Army and Air Force Emergency Services, local scout groups and others, will be there to provide the activities. At the end of the walk, the USO Canteen will serve hotdogs and popcorn to hungry participants.
Established by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986 and sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, MOMC allows families the opportunity to recognize the struggles and sacrifices made by children whose parents serve their country.
Department of Defense Education Activity schools around the KMC will be celebrating MOMC in their classrooms with special events and activities for their students. Exact schedules will vary, and parents should check with their child’s teachers for more information.
Jasmine Connolly, a mom, military spouse and teacher’s aide at Ramstein Elementary School, explained that military children have to gain certain skills and personality traits to adapt to their challenging lifestyle.
“I think what makes the children of military families special is how resilient and adaptable they are. More often than not, they have to deal with a parent leaving on a moment’s notice or being gone for long periods of time,” she said. “Very rarely is there family nearby, so there isn’t a strong support system there for help, and most kids grow up far away from their grandparents and extended family.”
Connolly went on to state the importance of MOMC.
“I think that it is important to celebrate the Month of the Military Child because these kids are also making sacrifices alongside their parents, and they need to know that they are appreciated and important as well,” she said.
Amanda Follmer, USO Kaisers-lautern Area Operations coordinator, said serving military children is an important part of the USO’s mission.
“The USO’s mission is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation,” she said. “We understand that a strong family support system is the biggest driving force behind our service members, and we want to assist them in that endeavor. Celebrating our military children through fun, family-oriented activities is a great way to build those bonds of family and community.”
Follmer described the MOMC Kinder Volksmarch, April 22, as a “great opportunity to celebrate the culture of our host nation by experiencing the traditional German volksmarch.”