Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors
As a kid, I grew up surrounded by nature. I had access to miles of coastline and State beaches, hiked with my parents in the local redwood reserve, and swam with friends in the Russian River. This time outside to play and exercise was important. It kept me healthy and active, it changed the way I viewed our world, inspired curiosity, and allowed me to connect with my friends and family.
As I get older, I continue to see that not everyone has the same opportunities. Children today are growing up in a different world than I did just a few years before. Electronics are everywhere, many families lack access to parks, school standards are ever increasing, and kids seem to be spending less time in the great outdoors.
This includes the kids in our Nation’s military families. Patriotic, selfless, adaptable, compassionate, courageous, graceful, worldly, strong: These are but a few words used to describe military children. April was established as the Month of the Military Child by the Department of Defense to honor the enduring qualities, strength, and sacrifices of our Nation’s youngest heroes. The month of the military child recognizes that military kids serve too and face many challenges, including frequent moves, changing schools, making new friends, and deployed parents.
At the Sierra Club, we believe time in the outdoors can reduce the stress and anxiety of everyday life, can inspire physical and mental wellbeing, and can bring families back together following a deployment. I was fortunate enough to witness the joy time in the outdoors can bring to active duty families during our military family camping trip to the Organ Mountains last October and wholeheartedly agree with this philosophy.
This April, the Sierra Club will celebrate the Month of the Military Child by joining forces with Blue Star Families, Children & Nature Network, National Military Family Association, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the U.S. Forest Service and other organizations to host a series of Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors (COMCO) events across the nation. We already have events in the works in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Our kickoff event will be Saturday, April 6th at Prince William Forest Park just outside Washington, DC near Marine Corps Base Quantico from noon until 4p.m.
Join us as we celebrate our Nation’s youngest heroes! Interested groups and agencies wishing to become involved are invited to join the COMCO initiative by hosting an event, getting involved with one of the scheduled events, or supporting the promotion of military kids throughout April. Please contact me, Jared Robinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-548-6590 to get involved.