Elmo and friends visited Luke Air Force Base Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 to put on a show for families.
The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families helped children understand the process of moving with the family when a parent receives orders to a new assignment.
Elmo started the show by introducing other Sesame Street characters while doing the “Elmo slide” dance. He welcomed Cookie Monster, Grover and Rosita.
Katie, a 6-year-old girl who lives on Sesame Street, comes to the stage after Elmo’s dance and is very sad. She explains that her dad got orders to move to another base. She lets them know how sad she is to be leaving all of her friends.
Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street characters quickly jump to her aid, helping her to understand friends may move, but keeping in touch is fun. Through song and dance they discuss writing letters or sending email and even using the computer to video chat.
By the end of the performance Katie feels better about having to move but is still a little sad to be leaving friends.
“We’ve made countless friends of all ages since the tour kicked off,” said Kyle Igneczi, Sesame Street performer. “We meet kids, parents and grandparents who have all been through some of the same things that Katie has experienced, but Katie is a really special little girl. When faced with the challenges of being a military child, she has never been afraid to talk about her feelings. Her strength and courage is actually what inspired this tour.”
The intent of the tour is to help children who go through the moving process often and how they can stay in touch with friends.
“So many children have seen the same struggles such as, moving away from home and friends, having to make new friends, learning how to keep in touch,” Igneczi said. “Even most adults have trouble expressing their feelings and fears. This show is a great way to start a conversation with the whole family. Plus, it helps to know that your Sesame Street friends will always be there for you.”
The United Service Organization brought the show to Luke as well as other bases throughout the world.
“The USO provided almost everything,” said Eric Caley, 56th Force Support Squadron recreation assistant. “We provided the crowd and the facilities to hold the show. It was a great turnout. We had more than 1,200 people there. We only expected between 700 and 800.”
During the show children learned from and interacted with the characters. But, the children were not the only ones excited about the show.
“Never before have I been more proud to be a part of something,” Igneczi said. “When first welcomed into the USO family, I wasn’t entirely sure what was in store. Having toured for years, I definitely knew how to travel, but I had no idea the impact performing for these families would have on me.”