Sesame Street/USO Tour Brings Kids Joy, Parents Advice

By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

The 2016 Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour has been in full effect since July, and it recently stopped by my home installation, Fort Meade. So I figured, since some of you might be interested in taking your kids someday, why not check it out?

Sesame Street character Katie and her friends talk to the kids about tough topics, like moving and the military transition. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller

Sesame Street character Katie and her friends talk to the kids about tough topics, like moving and the military transition. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller

Believe it or not, the Sesame Street tour is the longest running entertainment tour in USO history, having debuted in 2008.


Video: Sesame Street Show Looks at Transition

The shows are meant to help military kids and their parents deal with unique challenges. In past years, they focused on deployments and homecomings, but now they’re more geared toward big moves and the transition to civilian life. Each installation gets to decide which shows perform on their base, depending on the needs of the families there.

The kids get to watch their favorite Sesame Street characters sing and dance during the show. DoD photo by Katie Lange

The kids get to watch their favorite Sesame Street characters sing and dance during the show. DoD photo by Katie Lange

I attended the show called “Katie’s Family Transitions to Civilian Life,” about a military kid named Katie who’s dealing with her family transitioning out of the services. It’s a relevant topic for many military families.

“The kids come and get to see somebody just like them up on stage going through something that they might be going through,” said tour manager Nicole McClendon. “They don’t even realize they’re learning anything because they’re having a good time.”

The kids are overwhelmed with excitement when their favorite characters hit the stage. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller

The kids are overwhelmed with excitement when their favorite characters hit the stage. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller

While the shows are for kids ages 1-6, many of them are too young to really take in what it’s all about. So really, the content is for the parents.

“It gives them an opportunity to pick up some talking points or icebreakers – ways to get that conversation started,” McClendon said.

Military families can attend the 30-minute shows for free. DoD photo by Katie Lange

Military families can attend the 30-minute shows for free. DoD photo by Katie Lange

Kids bopped and hopped around with their lighted Elmo spinners and USO bandannas. Some also cried … but that happens sometimes. Overall, the kids really seemed to be captivated by the characters, and the parents were happy to get some useful information on how to help their children with the transition.

The characters get to greet the kids toward the end of the show. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller

The characters get to greet the kids toward the end of the show. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller

“Everybody loves it,” McClendon said. “It spreads a little bit of happiness.”

The 30-minute shows are free to military personnel and their families. You can check out the tour schedule on the USO’s website.

Sesame Street characters dance for children attending the Fort Meade, Maryland, showing of the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller.

Sesame Street characters dance for children attending the Fort Meade, Maryland, showing of the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour. DoD photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Cedric Haller.

Sesame Workshop has partnered with the Defense Department for years to bring helpful content to military families through its website and several free apps. To check them out, click here.

Follow the Department of Defense on Facebook and Twitter!

———-

Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DOD website.

Check out these other posts:

Comments

comments

This entry was posted in DoD News, Education, Military Children, Military Families, Military Transition, Rotator and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.